The church was closed due to local COVID 19 restrictions but the parish priests set up a “drive in”
adoration alter behind the main glass doors of the church. It was empty in the outdoor gathering space of
the church– people visiting, including my husband and I, stayed in their cars. The church is located on a
wooded lot. A squirrel suddenly ran out of the woods and up to the door of the church, sniffing around. It
stood up on its hind feet and put its paws on the glass, as if to be reaching toward Our Lord. Some
people walked over to the adoration area to pray and a family later parked, got out of their car, and
walked toward the Blessed Sacrament. The squirrel did not bolt but just hopped back into the woods as if
to make room for the people who had come for adoration.
On the Feast of Corpus Christi, we were in our car for the drive in Communion Service at the same
parish. This Communion was special— Corpus Christi was the first time public Sunday Masses were
offered in the Archdiocese since March. I noticed the tree nearest the Blessed Sacrament was shaking at
the top and out popped the squirrel—it came down the tree, crossed the driveway, and landed in the
grass near our car, sniffing around. It moved away and I did not see it anymore. As people started to line
up with distancing and were waiting for the priest to come out, I saw the squirrel near the line of people.
All of a sudden, the priest opened the front door of the church and came out with the ciborium of Hosts. I
was aghast when I saw the squirrel hopping toward the Holy Communion area! It suddenly darted into
the woods when the priest lifted the Host up. This squirrel was extremely bold, running headlong into a
place that was filled with people!
The following week more restrictions were lifted and people were allowed to stand in the adoration area in
front of the church, thus participating (via the PA system) in the Mass going on inside. I looked around for
the squirrel but noticed something else—there was a Siamese cat wondering around the grounds! The
squirrel was up in a tree scolding the cat—I heard it chattering in the way that they typically do when
something irritates them. The cat just wandered around the area. A woman sitting on the bench glanced
toward the cat, but instead of coming toward her it darted away from her, making me think that it might be
feral. After I received Communion and was driving out of the parking lot, I noticed that the cat was
nowhere to be found. I have been to daily Mass since then and have not seen the squirrel or cat.
This story shows how all of creation honors God. Animals are attracted to Him and seem to sense His
Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. It seemed like the squirrel was trying on numerous occasions to be
close to Our Lord. In His Presence it was not afraid of people. The squirrel could tolerate Our Lord’s
presence in the Monstrance but during Mass the holiness of the situation must have been too much for it
to handle. In His mercy, it is possible that Our Lord sent an angel in the form of a cat to keep the squirrel
safely in the tree so that it would not be overwhelmed and possibly suffer illness during the Mass and
while people were receiving Holy Communion. In the Old Testament no living creature was able to touch
God’s holy mountain and live.
This story shows the dignity of humanity —human beings are the only creatures that are privileged
enough to receive Jesus into themselves— not even the Angels have this privilege and certainly animals
do not have this privilege! We are loved by God so much that He allows us to come into His Presence
without harm. He chose to join creation by becoming human—he did not choose to become an angel,
animal, or any other creature. By watching this squirrel, I have come to really appreciate and better
understand God’s love and care for us, along with His incredible holiness.
Barbara Zwiesler Gaithersburg, MD (suburb of Washington DC)