It was early in the 20th century. Pat and Mike like so many of their countrymen had immigrated to the United States from Ireland. In their native country they had worked as farmers. But in New York City there were no farms. They were forced to seek other employment.
They found it working as laborers, helping to construct the ever-expanding sewer system that New York’s growing population required. Although they didn’t enjoy the work, they accepted it as a way to feed themselves and their families.
One day their supervisor started them on a new assignment. They were to dig up two city blocks of street – which happened to be in the “red light district.” The two men set to their task, swinging their picks at the hard clay that made up the road.
As they were at their job, Pat – pointing to the most notorious of the houses of ill-repute – noticed a man standing in front of its steps. The man looked in all directions and then quickly ran up the stairs. Pat said, “Mike. Wasn’t that Rabbi Jacobsen who went in there?” Mike looked up and in his thick brogue said, “Ah, yes I believe it ’twas he.”
Pat shook his head and said, “’Tis a scandal – a man who is a religious leader going inta place like dat. What would the members of his temple tink if dey seed him?”
Mike, the older and wiser of the two said, “Yes, ’tis a shame. But ya know, Patty – he don’t believe in the Laird Jesus. So we have to be a little forgivin’ of him.”
About an hour went by when Pat grabbed Mike’s shirt and pointed to the same house. A man was standing in front of it. He turned in all directions and then quickly ran up the stairs and through the front door. Pat said, “Isn’t that Rev. Johnson from the church two blocks over. Imagine, a Christian minister goin’ inta place like dat.”
Mike turned to his friend and said, “Yes Patty – but ya know – he don’t have da fullness of fait’. He don’t believe in da Pope as head of da Church.”
Yet another hour went by when a third man stood in front of the house of ill repute. Again he looked all around and then quickly ran up the steps and through the front door. Pat was pale and perspiration formed on his brow as he said, “Blessed Mother. Mike – I would swear ’twas Fr. McGuiness from Holy Martyrs Church going in there.”
Mike looked at his friend and with a pained and concerned expression said, “Ah, fer sure, Patty – there must be someone in there who’s at death’s door – and Fither’s come ta perform the Last Rites.”
Moral: It is what it is.