blessing-of-the-animals

Pets blessed around the world

Oct. 3, 2011 at 8:40 AM ET

The first weekend in October, people around the world celebrate the Blessing of the Animals by bringing everything from dogs and cats to snakes, hamsters and horses, to churches for this special ceremony.

This custom is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures. 

Eric S. Swist / The Courier via AP /

Deacon Ralph Risk, at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Texas, blesses Bobby Neihous, 13, and his pet rats Isabell and Tina.

Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal & Constitution via AP /

Elle Warnett, 6, has her pet rat Tink blessed by senior pastor Wiley Stephens at the Dunwoody United Methodist Church celebration in Georgia on Oct. 2.

Eric S. Swist /The Courier via AP /

A dog reacts as it is sprinkled with holy water by Deacon Ralph Risk, at St. Anthony of Padua.

Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal & Constitution via AP /

James MacElroy, 9, makes friends with Leya, who was on hand at the Dunwoody United Methodist Church  on Oct. 2.

Jay Janner / Austin American-Statesman via AP /

Rev. David Boyd gets a kiss from Sam the Springer Spaniel during the Blessing of the Animals service at St. David's Episcopal Church in Texas. "You anoint me as I anoint you," joked Boyd after the wet smooch. 

Aaron Favila / AP /

A Catholic priest blesses pet snakes, skink and rabbits during Creation Sunday at the Malate church in the Philippines on Oct. 2. 

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