Rev. Dana Michaels blesses Bonita, a Norfolk terrier who came elegantly dressed by her companion, Maria Mejia.
RaÚl Ayrala/THE CATHOLIC VOICE
Parishes follow spirit of St. Francis
The plazas and parking lots of many parishes in the diocese were filled with barking, meowing and gurgling pets in October.
At St. Barnabas Parish in Alameda, Rev. Dana Michaels, the pastor, blessed 10 animals; from dogs and parakeets, to a guinea pig named Yoshi.
"They are our companions and add cheer to our life," said Father Michaels during the brief but lively event. He reminded people the animal blessings originated with St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment — his feast day is Oct. 4 — and the Peruvian saint, Martin de Porres, who was known for his ability to communicate with animals.
Father Michael said he has performed the animal blessings every Oct. 4 since he became a priest more than 30 years ago.
"Everyone was very well behaved because the spirit of St. Francis was here, and because our pope took his name," joked Father Michaels, who did very well during the blessing ... except for one puppy who nearly bit him.
"I come in peace, but I want to leave in one piece," he scolded the rebel puppy.
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