With the pastor away, the kittens came to play at Sacred Heart Parish, Peoria

Father Alex Millar, parochial vicar for the parishes in the Heart of Peoria Catholic Community, happily serves as a perch for his young visitor July 19. "We had three cats when I was growing up," he explained. Recognizing a kindred spirit, the kittens all found their way into his office at one point or another. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Jenny Caughey, secretary for the parishes in the Heart of Peoria Catholic Community, strokes one of the five kittens who visited the office at Sacred Heart Parish July 19 as part of the Peoria Humane Society’s “Warm and Fuzzy Wednesdays.” (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

St. Francis of Assisi would be proud.

The staff at Sacred Heart Parish in Peoria opened its doors to five kittens from Peoria County Animal Protection Services July 19 as part of “Warm and Fuzzy” Wednesdays.” A collaboration with the Peoria Humane Society, the initiative brings the young felines to an area business once a week to give them a chance to play and be cuddled and for office workers to relax and be entertained.

At the same time, the hourlong visits raise awareness about adoption of these animals.

Kittens are usually born in late spring and early summer, so June is National Cat Adoption Month, according to Patti Schaffner of the Peoria Humane Society. She said area kittens were born a little later this year, so adoption efforts continue.

The recent visit to Sacred Heart was the work of Jenny Caughey, secretary for the parishes in the Heart of Peoria Catholic Community, who is trained to work in the “kitten room” at PCAPS. Msgr. Stanley Deptula, pastor, agreed to the project to care for a small part of God’s creation with one stipulation.

“He said it was fine as long as he wasn’t here — he’s allergic to cats,” Caughey said. “He’s on retreat this week.”

Schaffner and Brittany Barnes brought the kittens, which were from three litters, as well as toys for them to play with, and offered supervision.

The visit to Sacred Heart was the first of what the Peoria Humane Society and PCAPS hope will be many “Warm and Fuzzy Wednesdays.” For more information, contact Schaffner at (309) 682-9015 or pschaffner@peoriahs.org.

EDITOR’S NOTE: More photos of the kittens’ visit to Sacred Heart have been posted to The Catholic Post’s site on Facebook.

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