Fr. Boniface warmly admits, “It was not my idea. My people came forward and began to organize themselves.”
St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich Village is the oldest Catholic church in Manhattan. Sitting on Sixth Avenue, St. Joseph’s was protected by Bishop “Dagger” John Hughes during the anti-Catholic threats of 19th-century New York City and frequented by Dorothy Day.
History aside, today the parish boasts a thriving community, but many of its loyal parishioners are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
So St. Joseph’s has organized a response.
Members of the parish’s Young Professionals group came forward and offered their services to the pastor of St. Joseph’s, Fr. Boniface Endorf, O.P.
Fr. Boniface warmly admits, “It was not my idea. My people came forward and began to organize themselves.” Other parishioners have since joined them.
Should any elderly or at-risk parishioner need an errand run or supplies purchased from the grocery, they get in touch via phone or email with the pastor. Fr. Boniface then contacts one of the “ready” volunteers. This allows at-risk parishioners to continue to maintain their quarantine.
“We need charity most when things are dire,” says Fr. Boniface. “Without charity, caring for the sick is cold, institutional procedure. This is a parish, not a social club. We care for those in need.”
Referring to St. Paul’s testimony of charity exchanged among the first Christian communities, Fr. Boniface exhorted that the mark of Christianity is to care for those in need.
Presently, the Archdiocese of New York has allowed churches to remain open. While Fr. Boniface’s staff will work as they are able from home, the pastor and friars in residence at St. Joseph’s will do everything possible to continue to support parishioners.