With the clergy driven more and more by spread sheets, it’s rare to find a Catholic Church in New York with any kind of organic outreach to the poor and homeless. Everything is being referred to city or state agencies. So it was surprising to hear a priest ask the congregation to pray for a cat, “Franchesca” — at a recent Sunday Mass in Queens, NY. The priest, Fr. Frank, said the cat, owned by a friend, had been named after him and was in need of prayers after an operation. He went on to say that he had asked for and received permission from the pastor to seek donations from parishioners, for the purpose of feeding stray cats in the neighborhood. He added that he “will not rest until felines are off the street.”
One couldn’t help but think of the people in the pews who were barely getting by — and eating less than Fr. Frank’s cats.
Putting cats above humans is not what St. Francis had in mind.