MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (CBS) — Last year, a gentleman who simply goes by Mr. Bob suddenly showed up to a church in South Jersey. His presence made quite the impact.
“Maybe it was about a year ago, he just started showing up at our parish and school. He would show up on the steps of the church before mass and just greet people,” said Jessica Donohue, director of religious education at Sacred Heart.
“There was just something very dependable about him, very welcoming about him,” said Sacred Heart School principal Kathryn Besheer.
The thing about Mr. Bob is that he’s a cat.
He memorized the dates and times of services and classes at Sacred Heart in Mount Holly all to travel out to make sure he didn’t miss out on a single back scratch.
“He would come and stand by Father and myself and greet the kids every morning,” Besheer said.
Mr. Bob provided a lesson in love for the Sacred Heart community, and early last month, a lesson in loss when he passed away.
“He actually passed, Bob, right before the Feast of Saint Francis and Father gave him a blessing,” Donohue said.
And the blessings didn’t end there.
With the grief over Bob’s passing came an idea — a month-long donation drive in his honor, which coincided with the Feast of Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals.
“Students even went to their karate studios and put up signs so that we could collect even more,” Besheer said.
Collect they did and Eyewitness News was there as they delivered several van loads of supplies to the Burlington County Animal Shelter, where Bob’s legacy will now help other animals in need.
Freeholder Balvir Singh arrived with a token of thanks to the staff and students who loved Mr. Bob.
“We reminded the students that they were such great caretakers to Bob and he was a great gift to us,” Besheer said.