Lenten Lessons

I was hungry and you gave me food.
by Brenner LeCompte, LC | Source:
As Dr Fran hustled up Fifth Avenue through the busied streets of Manhattan, she went past all types: the wealthy and the weak, those adorned with riches and those clothed in rags. It was just one more walk past the Rockefeller center. As they say on Wall Street, “Another day, another dollar”.

She escaped the Friday evening rush and slipped past the large bronze doors into the neo-gothic cathedral of St Patrick’s. She was just recently named coordinator of nocturnal adoration which was held every first Friday beginning at 9:00 pm and ending with Mass on Saturday morning at 8:00 am.

Dr Fran checked her clock, it was eight thirty. She took a quick look to make sure all was set and made a quick run through the sacristy.

This evening Monsignor Anthony Dalla Villa, the Rector of St Patrick’s, apologized for not having the sandwich; Dr Fran told him that it wasn’t a problem and that she would pick one up at the deli close by the Cathedral.

The man behind the counter recognized her as a friend of Father Anthony and said, “When you see Monsignor Dalla Villa would you tell him that I have the sandwiches for him?” She was a little surprised because Father Anthony didn’t have the sandwich for her, but she told him that she would take them over to him. The man across the counter handed her a bag with twenty scrambled egg sandwiches, twenty cups of chicken soup and twenty cups of coffee.

When she arrived to the Cathedral, she gave the bag to Father Anthony and asked him who would receive this food. Father Anthony seemed a little uncomfortable and evasive but then revealed that he was going to give it to some of the homeless people around the Cathedral.

Later the man in the deli told her that he prepared this bag of food for Monsignor every night for the last fifteen years and he paid for it from his very small, priestly stipend.

Father Anthony Dalla Villa would latter share with Dr Fran that he would go out at night—every night—along the streets of New York, and give food to the homeless, along with the new clothes that he had received as presents. It was only over time that that he revealed this information—this was a secret gift between him and Jesus. Father Anthony, the Good Shepherd, fed and clothed his sheep every night.

-Information taken from a letter from Dr Fran Renda, February 2, 2008.

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