Sacred Heart Catholic Church hosts Blessing of the Animals

Father Alphonsus sprinkles the pets with holy water at the Blessing of the Animals ceremony at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Diane Sieker photo

Father Alphonsus of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Anza blessed some of Anza’s pets Friday, Oct. 4, in a special ceremony.

Catholic tradition offers the Blessing of the Animals in remembrance of Saint Francis of Assisi’s love for all God’s creatures. Francis wrote a “Canticle of the Creatures,” honoring all the Lord’s living things.

“All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures,” he said.

Pets were lined up with their owners, and Alphonsus recited the blessing:

“The animals of God’s creation inhabit the skies, the earth and the sea. They share in the ways of human beings. They have a part in our lives. Francis of Assisi recognized this when he called the animals, wild and tame, his brothers and sisters. Remembering Francis’ love for these brothers and sisters of ours, we invoke God’s blessing on these animals, and we thank God for letting us share the earth with all the creatures.”

As the prayers were offered, the pets were gently sprinkled with holy water. All the animals present accepted the sacramental spritzing.

The short ceremony blessed dogs both young and old, a cat and a small goat.

“Father was amazing, going to cars to bless shy animals and coming back out for the latecomers,” organizer Tara Butchart said, who brought her faithful German shepherd Reba to the blessing. “He was so full of joy; he made it really special. It was another of those events where so many of the church community came together to make it happen. We hope to make it bigger and better next year, and hopefully make it a yearly event for the whole Anza community.”

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Diane Sieker can be reached by email at