Jesus from the Bronx

Author: Aleksandra Jędrzejczak

One night in New York, in the middle of the street, over fifty people are fighting. A Franciscan friar crosses himself, gets out of his car and launches himself into the fray. He cries as loud as he can: “In the name of God, stop it!” And indeed, the fight soon ends, although the friar is afraid of being stabbed or punched.

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, also known as the Bronx Brothers, carry Christ to places where nobody wants to go. The friars, however, believe that they do not do anything special: nothing beyond “proclaiming Jesus, giving out sandwiches and working with those rejected by society.” In reality, their work is very dangerous. The Bronx, one of the five New York boroughs, is regarded as a ghetto awash with violence, drugs and gang wars, and deprived of any hope. More crimes are committed there than in the slums of Moscow or Rio de Janeiro. Despite the many dangers, the friars themselves have never suffered any harm. Drug addicts, prostitutes and drug dealers often greet them with “God bless you!”


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