ISJ Essay: The Church of St. Ignatius Loyola and the Parable of The Good Samaritan
A few weeks ago, Father Yesalonia challenged us to find ways to follow the example of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25–37. Here Jesus calls on us to spread God’s love in a spirit of compassion and care for our neighbors.
Members of the Social Justice Ministry accepted our pastor’s challenge and participated in Don’t Walk By, an annual winter outreach in collaboration with City Relief, Salvation Army, Bowery Mission, and other non-profit agencies. Volunteers canvassed Manhattan streets from midtown to the Battery, met dozens of homeless individuals, and invited them back to a host site in Chinatown for a nutritious meal, clothing, medical care, and referrals to city agencies that offer more support.
Today’s experience reinforced that part of my responsibility is to share my many blessings. It is hard to be complacent and take for granted that roof over my head, my three meals a day, and a simple pair of socks. The Parable of the Good Samaritan will continue to challenge me.
So what experiences/insights/thoughts did St. Ignatius volunteers have? Below are the comments from several parishioners who participated in the 2023 Don’t Walk By.
Jimmy Coffey: Our engagements on the streets of Midtown brought into sharp focus just how complicated a day in a vulnerable person’s life can be. My team encountered a man with nothing, not even a simple bag to store the socks we gave him. He was reluctant to accept a second pair as he didn’t want to deny another person the opportunity to have them. Today reminds us that we can take a lot for granted as we go about our busy yet safe and comfortable lives.
Judith Rosenberger: My team worked well together. It shows where there’s a shared commitment, a bond will follow. I had the most success finding guests in the subway—I won’t need my Stairmaster after today! They accepted literature and socks and a bit of a chat. All in all, it was most worthwhile. I’m very grateful to have been able to take part.
Peter: Don’t Walk By is a chance to interact with our vulnerable brothers and sisters as our neighbors. After we visited with our last neighbor, my volunteer group debriefed over a late lunch in the community we served, discussed the extraordinary experience, and shared stories of our interactions with the homeless in our neighborhoods. We agreed to meet again and encourage those in our faith communities and beyond to engage with our neighbors—even if it’s just an acknowledgment with a hello and offering some food or beverage.
Dolores Troy-Quinn: A long day but a very worthwhile experience because it made the people I met on the street visible and worthy of human dignity. I am also awed by the dedication of so many people willing to give up a whole Saturday to connect with their homeless brothers and sisters.
Anne: I started our Walk thinking that “success” would be persuading our brothers and sisters on the street to go to the Bowery center for a lovely meal and access to shelter, healthcare, and other services. At the end of the day, I saw that the simple act of meeting, talking, and listening to those we met was also a success. We could engage them, letting them know that they were not invisible. These small acts on our part have led me to see that we don’t always need an organized event to support these persons on the street. We can do this anytime we choose.
Terry Quinn: Today’s experience reinforced my responsibility to share my many blessings. It is hard to be complacent and take for granted that roof over my head, my three meals a day, and a simple pair of socks. The Parable of the Good Samaritan will continue to challenge me.
— Terry Quinn