NEW YORK — With efficiency and organization that even Santa’s workshop couldn’t match, nine friars and a host of volunteers brought Christmas cheer to the men and women of the Saint Francis of Assisi parish breadline in Manhattan on Dec. 21.
When the Angelus bell rang at 7 a.m., all was in place – sandwiches, coffee, juice, fruit and gifts. Guests received special presents, including $5, tickets to Christmas dinner at Madison Square Garden, a box of doughnuts, sweater, scarf, hat and gloves for cold winter mornings.
Friars who participated in the event included Jerome Massimino, OFM, Vincent Laviano, OFM, Felix McGrath, OFM, Alcuin Coyle, OFM, Dominic Monti, OFM, Stephen Mimnaugh, OFM, Michael Harlan, OFM, and Brian Jordan, OFM.
Michael Carnevale, OFM, who coordinates the parish W. 31st Street’s breadline, oversaw the gift giveaways, with several local police officers on hand to keep a watchful eye.
Earlier in the week, Maureen Hess, director of St. Francis Cares, had assembled volunteers to stuff the gift bags with donations from local businesses, as well as handmade articles provided by numerous donors, including the parish knitting and crocheting group, The Big Apple Knitters, and area schoolchildren.
— Fr. Timothy is Director of Liturgy and Communications at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Manhattan.