Monday, December 27, 2010

Blessed are the homeless: Dolan

Archbishop Timothy Dolan brightened up Christmas Day for hundreds of homeless people at a Bronx soup kitchen. 

The leader of New York's Catholics shared a festive lunch with more than 400 homeless and disadvantaged New Yorkers at the Our Lady of Refuge School. 

"If we had Catholic charities on the first Christmas in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph would have had a warm place to stay," said Dolan, who hugged and chatted with volunteers for the charity Part of the Solution.

"It made my Christmas," said Theresa Nesh, an 85-year-old Bronx resident who lives near the charity in the Fordham-Bedford neighborhood. 

"I fell in love with him and always wanted to meet him."
Dolan, who encouraged Nesh to eat the Brussels sprouts on her plate, stayed on to sample turkey and pumpkin pie at the charity event. 

He sang "Did Your Mother Come from Ireland?" to Nesh when she told him that her family was Irish.

Dolan arrived at the soup kitchen right after celebrating a 10:15 a.m. Christmas mass at St. Paul's Cathedral attended by more than 2,000.

"It was so special for a man of that caliber to come here and welcome people with so much love," said volunteer Georgene Mongarella. 

"When he walked in, people were elated to see him. He shook hands with everybody."

In other parts of the city, volunteers organized coat drives and holiday meals. 

In Brooklyn, the YWCA, the Park Slope Armory and the Prospect Park YMCA organized a toy drive and holiday meal for 2,500. 

Fifteen volunteers for New York Cares distributed 150 winter coats to more than 100 homeless people in Manhattan.

At Grand Central Terminal, members of the Doe Fund charity lit hundreds of candles to remember an elderly homeless woman who died on a bench in the station's waiting room in 1985.