A few weeks ago Beacon of Hope held its annual Christmas Party in the cafeteria of Epiphany Church on 22nd Street. Beacon of Hope is a Catholic Charities program that provides safe homes for more than 400 adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses. This is such a warm festive Christmas party with gentle residents enjoying a good meal, friendship and entertainment.
This year was even warmer and more special because of Joseph Szala. Joseph is deaf and lives in one of the residences on Matthews Avenue in the Bronx. He came up to me at the party and handed me an envelope. I thanked him – thinking it was a simple Christmas card. I put it in my pocket and only later opened it. Yes, it was a Christmas card, but much more. Along with a $100 money order was a handwritten note on a small white piece of paper –
“Please know about Christmas Gift.
Small children plus toy gift
heart love much
Christmas $100 one time
Bless you much”
– Joseph Szala
More eloquent notes have been written, but no action better illustrates the season’s spirit than Joe Szala’s Christmas kindness on 22nd Street.