Notes from a parish cat and his author Julie Mackenzie

My photo
I am Father Tom Fish, esteemed member of the religious team at Temptation of Christ Parish in the novels by author Julie Mackenzie. As to my background, I was invited into the rectory as a stray, laid on the charm, and was invited to stay, even honorarily ordained and no less spiritual than my sidekick Father Will. He dotes on me to high heaven and forgives all of my street cat proclivities, whatever the hell that means.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


This Memorial Day weekend, we are remembering our loved ones. I wanted to have a memorial of my own involving a very special cat. In order to do that, there's only one place to go and that is Purr-n-Fur. The site has the story of the original Tom the church cat.

There's not a picture of him which is a shame, but what's left of his memory is a little grave by the main door of St. Mary's Redcliffe in Bristol, England.

Look at this huge place! He must have felt really small.

When I first introduced little Tom over a year ago, I received a comment from Whicky Wuudler who lives nearby. He said his mom visited this spot and put flowers on the grave. If we could only do the same!

Just think, for all the spiritual quiet, the occasional sound of an organ or the creak of benches as people begin their prayers, nothing brings the soul closer to Heaven than communicating with a little guy on four legs.

This weekend, I invite you to go to Purr-n-Fur (it's in my Little Black Book on the sidebar) and enjoy Patrick Roberts' cats in all their walks of life and history.

There'll be a surprise for you, my friends, on the home page...purrr!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chasing Whimsy

I'll never die of thirst--boredom, shock, maybe--but never from lack of water.

The housekeeper is a fanatic about making sure I have bowls everywhere so if I need a drink, I won't have far to go. Sometimes, I have two bowls, one gigantic whisker-wide one and another so little, there's more on the floor than on my tongue. Of course, that's the one I pick.

I can't believe I'm on the subject of water. Jeez, talk about a slow news day. It's been so quiet lately, my opinions are suffering from neglect.

I can't even think of a joke to tell. Maybe I'll try a limerick for my pal over at WALC- claw radio - to try on his listeners, but I'd like to share them with you first.

Here goes:

There was a young cat from Vermouth
Whom everyone thought quite uncouth
He'd swear at the stars
Pinch the ladies in bars
With the excuse he was born in Duluth.

Oh, Lord--sorry, folks.
Let me try another one. Let me see--

There was an old cat from O'Keefe
Who was full of blarney and beef
There was always a story
About his own glory
We'd call the dogs in for relief.

Then, of course, there's the one framed in the rectory which everybody loves:

There once was a church with a cat
One day by the altar he sat
Listening to prayers in awe
Wriggling mouse in his jaw
Communion was never the same after that.


Julie has a bit of news. Her letter to the editor is being featured in The Writer magazine for this month and, she's talking to a publisher. How would you like me all wrapped up for Christmas?


Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Get Letters...

Here comes the mailman.

I've been getting a lot of letters lately. Mary Lou, my housekeeper and ever-cheerful slave thinks I should answer them. Sometimes, there are notes of admiration which she refuses to frame, letters asking questions they know I have time to answer (do they think I do nothing all day?) and mysterious packages with presents addressed to Tom the Church Cat.

This week, I thought I would include one of the letters concerning the rectory. Here it is:

Dear Father Tom,

I've seen people sneak into the rectory through the back door, like they don't want anyone to see them. Why do they do that and do they have a good reason to?

Birdwatcher turned Peeping Tom

Dear Peeping Tom (your name's Tom, too!)

Anyhow, everybody uses all doors here, but the back door is used by appointment only if the person's business is highly confidential. Obviously, that isn't working very well if you are catching sight of them. The priests will have to start making other arrangements.

As far as the nature of their visit, I try to find out the big secret. Jack or Will shut me out of the room they're in, but mostly to send a message. They know darn well I can hear every word with my cat ears. At times, they will have confessions in the rectory, too, and they even hear each other's which to me is weird, but that's when I really want to hear what's going on!

The housekeeper never confesses anything.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hooah! Amen.

This week's events have rendered me speechless--almost.

It has been one for the Ages. Not only have my friends the Navy SEAL Team Six done an amazing job, their service to our country is second to none. If they would have me, I would like to become a Navy SEAL chaplain.


I aim to be a cross between Father Mulcahey on MASH (see, they have big letters, too) and Rambo. I haven't tried it, but I know I could hold my breath under water for two minutes. I would be praying the whole time and cringing at the thought of being suspended in the dreaded H2O, but I'd do it, just to prove myself worthy. I already have claws which are deadly weapons, I am very good at keeping evil at bay, and I honestly and truly have six-pack abs--you just can't see them with all my fur.

I wear camo well, too. (did you hear about the guy who liked wearing camouflage but had trouble finding himself?) and, best of all, I am very good at keeping secrets. The whole time I've been at Temptation, I never once told what I've heard in the confessional. Now, if that isn't restraint, I don't know what is.

So, my friends, I'm the purrfect candidate to keep our men safe and strong--and close to the Man upstairs. And, at the end of every mission, I know I would get the biggest dish of ice cream on the planet.