July 21, 2017

Auxiliary Malta Walks in NYC, July 2017

Dr. Michael Espiritu, Francesca Temesta, DM, and the Order of Malta Auxiliary
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Cav. John Napoli
Tuesday evening, nearly twenty volunteers gathered at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral parish house (263 Mulberry Street) in lower Manhattan for the monthly “Malta Walks” street ministry. Led by Francesca Tempesta, DM, members of the Order of Malta Auxiliary, and friends meet every third Tuesday of the month (@ 7:30pm) to prepare and distribute food to the homeless.
Arriving early, I was happy to see Msgr. Donald Sakano, Pastor of Old St. Pat’s, back on his feet again, recovering nicely from his surgery. Stopping by to see how we were doing, Monsignor was in good spirits and wished us well before retiring. 
After introductions and niceties, we got down to business and formed an assembly line around the table, putting together some fifty parcels of ready-to-eat food (sandwiches, fruit, etc.) and toiletries (tooth-brushes, mouthwash, etc.). When finished, we each took several bags to hand out.
Reciting the Daily Prayer of the Order of Maltaour group took a commemorative photo before pounding the pavement. Breaking up into smaller groups, participants headed off in different directions to cover more ground. My companions and I decided to go north towards Union Square Park. 
Unfortunately, as a native New Yorker I’ve seen my fair share of homeless people; however, I don’t ever recall seeing this many before. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re actively looking for them or that times are really that much worse (I know I had to significantly tighten my belt over the past several years). Even one homeless person is too many, but the numbers were truly disturbing.
Speaking of disturbing, entering Union Square Park (which is never short of soapbox orators) we passed one particularly unsavory mattoid with a megaphone ranting about “white Christian hypocrites.” Typically oblivious to his own sordid bigotry and hypocrisy, the rabble-rouser continued his tirade as we were giving aid to the homeless. I was somewhat consoled by the fact that, aside from me, no one else seemed to be paying much attention to his inflammatory squawking.
Completing the task at hand, my companions and I gave away the last of our care packages to the needy before parting ways.
Anyone interested in supporting this noble endeavor can contact the Order of Malta Auxiliary at nycaux@orderofmaltaamerica.org or call 917-566-3937. For additional information, the Order can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/maltaauxiliarynyc.
God Bless Francesca, the Order of Malta Auxiliary, and Msgr. Sakano for organizing the monthly walk, their hard work and generosity are truly inspiring. I am deeply honored to serve with such an outstanding group of people and excited to do my part and contribute in any way I can to this worthy initiative.
Also see:
• Supporting the “Malta Walks” Street Ministry