The pastor of a New York Catholic church is protesting a $115 parking ticket, which was issued while his associate priest was giving an ailing woman the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
Fr. Cletus Forson, of St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Parish, rushed to the hospital bedside of Nelly Munoz July 26th, after receiving a call from a parishioner that the 65-year-old lady needed the assistance of a priest desperately. Munoz was undergoing emergency intestinal surgery at Maimonides Medical Center.
Unable to find a parking spot around the hospital, Fr. Forson parked his car with a line of others in a “No Standing” zone, placing his "Clergy on Call" placard on the dashboard, reported the New York Daily News.
After administering the Sacrament, he emerged 20 minutes later to find the ticket. While Fr. Forson insisted there were several other cars belonging to hospital employees parked in the same zone that didn't get tickets, Administrative Law Judge Michael Ciaravino refused to throw out the summons.
Transportation Department officials said no cars, no matter what placards they have, are allowed to park in such a zone.
On Tuesday, however, the Daily News followed up on the story and found four private cars parked illegally in the same zone without tickets - including vehicles belonging to a doctor, two EMS workers, and a police officer.
Msgr. Guy Massie, Fr. Forson’s pastor, paid the ticket under protest but still plans to appeal.
According to the report, City Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Brooklyn) is demanding the ticket be thrown out. "He was rushing to the hospital to administer the Catholic last rites to a dying patient," Gentile was quoted as saying in the Associated Press. "To me this is just another episode in the continuing saga of the city out of control with ticketing."
In the meantime, Munoz, who is recovering at a friend's house in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, heard about Fr. Forson’s fight in the news and said she had wanted to find a way to pay for the ticket out of gratitude to the priest.