In New York City, a church ceremony welcomed all sorts of pets and animals to be prayed for and blessed at a holy ceremony. Animals such as goats, horses, camels and many more were brought to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to be blessed during the annual feast of St. Francis and the Blessing of the Animals ceremony.
There were a lot of common pets brought to the church, but there were also odd creatures such as a bearded dragon lizard, pigs, snakes, and baby chicks brought to the holy temple. The point of the ceremony is to celebrate the miraculous beauty of the animal kingdom and recognize that the animals are a gift from a higher power.
“I know that people love their pets and are very grateful for their pets,” said Father Patrick Malloy, who performed the blessing, “I see this as a way for people to acknowledge how important their pets are for them. The blessing are always really for the people, but they’re also for the relationship. I always, when I bless these animals, pray that they and their companions can have long lives together.” Malloy says that when he performs the blessing, he prays of the safety of the animal but also for the pet’s relationship with the owner.
“My older dog slept through most of it — they wanted to meet the other dogs,” said Jocelyn Smith, who came to have her dogs blessed with her family. “My son loved it, so were we, we were happy. We came as a family. It was a great experience.” Smith said that the entire event was an enjoyable and fun family experience.