Animal blessing

Dogs, cats, hamsters and even a goldfish were among the dozens of pets who were blessed outside St Ignatius Catholic Church on Saturday morning.

animal blessing

Guinness the Great Dane and his friend George.

Among the dogs who came to the church for the blessing were Shadow and Super, brought by Pam Hart and Jason Jairam.

‘We had a blessing at the church several years ago, and asked Fr. Paul if he would do it this year. I hope it can be an annual event,’ said Mrs. Hart.

Fr. Paul Ballien, in his blessing on the steps of the church, said: ‘The animals of God’s creation inhabit the skies, the earth and the seas. They share the ways of human beings. They have a part in our lives.’

He then sprinkled holy water on the pets, some of whom reacted with surprise as they were splashed with the water.

The smallest creature at the church was a little goldfish in a glass vase, while the largest was friendly Great Dane Guinness who sniffed and tried to make friends with the smaller dogs.

The blessing was done the day before the feast of St. Fracis of Assissi, the patron saint of animals, which fell on Sunday.

Carmen and Graham Manchester brought their pet cat, 14-year-old Micky, who they adopted from the Humane Society several years ago, to be blessed.

Micky has a claim to fame, Mrs. Manchester she said. ‘She was featured on a calendar called 365 Kittens,’ said the proud owner.

Fr. Ballien said the blessing of animals had been done for children in the past. ‘This is the first time we’ve opened it up to everybody,’ he said.