He Felt Compelled
It hadn’t been long since Father Francis had been moved to the new parish. The story of the child roaming the streets and begging was well known to the local neighborhood.
The priest saw an opportunity in the situation. He could no longer just stand by and felt compelled to act.
Father Francis Santiago was ten years into priesthood when he got the news that he was being relocated to Kansas City. When his Bishop told him, he was excited at the prospect of running his own parish.
He always tried his hardest to be a faithful man of the cloth but considered himself imperfect too. Among his favorite things about being a priest, one thing stood out in particular.
A Busy Job
The life of a priest was a busy one. Apart from heading the weekly mass, he was always on call for funerals, and events, visiting the sick, old, and infirm.
Father Francis quickly developed a strong bond with his previous parish members and was known to always make himself available to them. Now at the threshold of a new chapter, he hoped he would be able to gain the same trust with the people of Kansas.
More Than A Job
Father Francis was a young boy when he first felt “the calling”. His decision came as a surprise to his loved ones as he came from a family that wasn’t very spiritual.
Despite these differences, his family supported him. In his formative years, his family even began attending church as had become an altar boy. Decades later, no one expected what Kansas residents would find out about his other activities.
Father Francis had previously served in Miami. The journey to Kansas was a long and jarring one. He wondered what life would be like there and felt anxious at times over how he would be received.
After reaching there and being introduced to his new congregation, Father Francis began heading the masses from the next week. It began well and he found himself enjoying his new environment. That was until he noticed something that upset him a lot.
it wasn’t long before Father Francis began realizing that many people in his congregation did not like him. His predecessor, Father Albert had served there for decades and was loved by the community.
To many congregants, Father Francis’s was seen as an unwanted replacement for Father Albert. He knew he had to win them over but could not decide on how best to do it.
Spending Time Together
At first, the priest gave people their space. Slowly over time, he began organizing church get-togethers to encourage more socializing.
He later began hosting a church party on the grounds on the third Saturday of every month. People gradually began showing up in larger numbers. That was when Father Francis first noticed one congregant that stood out.
It was a young boy, barely ten years old. He seemed to always be dressed in ragged clothes and have his hair in a mess. Father Francis found his attention being drawn to the little boy more and more over time.
Using the lure of a hot meal, the priest managed to approach him. He offered the meal to the child and asked if he could sit with him. The child’s reaction surprised him.
Instead of staying, the child took the plate of food and immediately left. He was soon lost in the crowd and disappeared. The party was still on and the priest had to see to his hosting duties so he could not follow.
After roughly half an hour, the boy showed up again. This time, Father Francis kept a close eye on him without approaching him directly. That was when he noticed something unusual about the boy.
It Didn’t Make Sense
The boy had been given a large plate of food yet here he was mingling among the other kids and asking for more food. The boy’s expression was fearful and this only drew the priest’s attention more.
Trying to keep track of the boy, the evening drew to a close and guests began to leave. As the crowd thinned, Father Francis finally saw an opportunity to approach the child again, having no idea that he was on camera.
Father Francis offered the boy two extra takeaway plates of food. He’d noticed the boy wasn’t much of a talker and didn’t want to scare him away by asking too many questions.
Father Francis said farewell after asking for his name and pretended to walk into the church. But as the boy turned the corner, he trailed him.
The sun was already setting when Father Francis followed the boy into the most secluded parts of the parish. The boy disappeared into an abandoned shack, only to come out with two younger kids.
They sat around the two plates of food and ate, and it was then that Father Francis eased before them with a smile on his face.
He Talks To Them
After a quick greeting and an assurance that they weren’t in trouble, Father Francis asked if he could buy them some milk for the night.
He also gave them an additional takeaway plate he’d carried from the day’s event. As they ate, he got to know them better. Their story would leave him in tears.
The boy revealed that their mom had gotten ill recently and had been sleeping in the house since then. She tasked the boy with caring for his siblings before sleeping, and he did everything to make her proud.
The priest knew what the boy meant. He kept his composure even as the reality of things became clear to him. He was about to ask everyone to follow him back to the church when he heard footsteps behind him.
A Lovely Ending
Father Francis turned around to find one of his parish members holding a camera. She shared that she’d seen him look worried at the party and feared the worst, especially after he abruptly left. Of course, Father Francis explained everything.
With the help of the parish member, they took the kids back to the church and clothed and fed them. A police investigation later revealed that the kids’ mom had died due to sickness. The parish tracked down the kids’ next of kin, a lovely family who took them in with open arms.