‘The Number Tattoo’ By Hank Landry

The Number Tattoo Synopsis

In the middle sixties a young altar boy encounters a priest unlike any before. While the altar boy has always been infatuated with WW ll he has never heard the story this priest has lived. The priest is past the age and health of maintaining a parish full time. He is sent from one parish to the next giving relief to pastors as they take vacations and sabbaticals. A friendship develops over two summers between the priest and the young altar boy.
Each day during summer Hank rises early to serve daily mass at his local parish four blocks from his home. Father Hickey, from Ireland, takes his annual trip home leaving the parish in the hands of Father Fenstad. While he is a caring priest, he cannot carry out his duties due to an injury he suffered as a young man in his homeland of Poland.
One morning, after mass, Father Fenstad shows Hank something that is said in Latin each time the prayers of consecration is said. Hanq Igitor. Hank is told this word is his name in Latin. It is a part of the mass that can never be changed. The good father tells Hank he has been chosen. His name can never be taken from the prayer of the mass.
Upon Father Hickey’s return for Ireland, Father Fenstad returns home. Hank is told that the visiting priest was touched by Hank for his service on the altar. The newly refreshed pastor tells Hank of Father Fenstad injury and why he is burdened physically.
A year passes and the visiting priest returns as he did the summer before. The friendship of the altar boy and the priest is renewed and continues to grow. Near the end of his stay the priest arrives at church for morning mass in pain from his injuries. Hank must be his legs and stand by the priest side on the altar for mass to be performed. Miracles take place during the mass.
Once mass is concluded Father Finstad relates to Hank the tragedy that befell him as a young man, and that of his kid brother as well as they were captive in the Auschwitz prison during the war. It is gut wrenching, and the two share the experience that will now affect both of their lives.

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