NEW YORK — Christopher Keenan, OFM, and Michael Carnevale, OFM, participated in the Dec. 22 gathering of Mychal’s Message to distribute coats, hats and gloves, scarves, underwear and Christmas goodies to people on the St. Francis of Assisi Breadline on West 31st Street.
Mychal’s Message is the charity organization founded to sustain the memory of Mychal Judge, OFM, who was killed on Sept. 11, 2011. It is run by Kelly Lynch and her family, who had been parishioners and friends of Mychal.
Lynch said 418 warm new coats, 357 hats and gloves, 120 scarves, 100 pounds of bananas, and 60 Christmas stockings filled with underwear and gifts were collected by Mychal’s Message, purchased with more than $10,000 in donations.
Guests to the breadline numbered 450 that day, one of the largest crowds in recent memory, according to Lynch. “I’ve never seen such a crowd on the Breadline before,” said Lynch. Her nine-year-old organization provides gifts to the Breadline guests several times each year.
Christopher took the stockings to distribute to the men of CREATE, a Harlem-based social services agency and another cause dear to Mychal’s heart. They were filled with underwear, T-shirts, socks, and a new wrapped watch. The hats and gloves along with 20 hams were also distributed at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia.
A video of the Christmas distribution was created by Octavio Duran, OFM, and is posted on the Mychal’s Message Facebook page.
Last summer, in time for the annual Walk of Remembrance on Sept. 11, Mychal’s Message produced a DVD about Mychal called “The Last Homily.” In 2007, Lynch authored a children’s book about the friar’s life titled He Said Yes.
— Wendy Healy is a freelance writer based in Connecticut.