Maryland Parish Assists N.J. Ministry

HNP Communications Around the Province

CAMDEN, N.J — St. Anthony of Padua Church here hosted a group of adults, ages 20 to 35, from St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md., last month, for a service retreat weekend.

The May 15 to 17 retreat was “a good example of parishes partnering and growing in faith together,” according to St. Anthony Development Director Lori Springer. The participants cleaned and renovated Francis House, a ministry to those with HIV and AIDS and their families, adjacent to the church property.

Eleven members of St. Camillus’ Adults Seeking the Kingdom (ASK) group traveled to Camden to spend the weekend at Francis House, Springer said. The floor of the Francis House dining room had been stripped by University of Notre Dame alumni the week before, and by Saturday morning, the ASK group was laying tile. 

In addition, the group painted offices, swept sidewalks, planted gardens and spruced up railings and doors. “It was an awesome time of connecting with young adults whose desire to serve God in community was lived out at Francis House,” Springer said. 

StCamillus_BFriars Pitch In
Supplies for the work were donated by St. Camillus friars: elbow grease from Mike Johnson, OFM, of St. Camillus, and John Coughlin, OFM, of St. Anthony. St. Anthony pastor William “Jud” Weiksnar, OFM, remembered several of the people from his days in Maryland. 

“We grilled outside that night, and the young adults spent time discussing their faith, reflecting on their service here and hearing the stories that Susan Piliro, director of Francis House, shared about the work we do at Francis House,” Springer said.

Francis House creates a place for those affected by HIV and AIDS to share companionship, lunch and friendship in a trusting and safe environment, according to Springer. “We aim to create an environment for developing trusting relationships that foster the creation and/or implementation of services and utilization of resources for those affected by or infected with HIV/AIDS,” she said. 

Francis House is always welcoming groups for service opportunities, according to Springer, especially during long weekends in the summer.

Celebrating Feast of St. Anthony
St. Anthony of Padua is planning a variety of activities for the weekend of June 13, to commemorate his feast. 

“Celebrating the Life in St. Anthony’s” takes place June 13 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Camden Children’s Garden on the Camden waterfront with Mass celebrated by Jud. A celebration honoring the parish’s volunteers, sponsors and community follows at 7:30 p.m.