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Spanish Pets Receive Priests' Blessings On St Anthony's Day

Thousands of Spanish dogs, cats, turtles, horses, rabbits, and other pets and farm animals were sprinkled with holy water on January 17, 2011, as Spain celebrated St. Anthony's Day.  And what finer place to receive a blessing than in central Madrid's Church of San Anton  named for the patron saint of animals himself.

Most of us know St. Anthony as the patron saint of lost things, poor persons, and travelers, but according to legend, animals faithfully followed St. Anthony and listened to him - a predecessor of the Pied Piper, perhaps?

Like human church-goers on Sundays, pets were adorned in their best and most fashionable attire for the occasion.  

 

Sunday best for this pooch is a red plaid coat and movie star suns: © Agence France-Presse, photo by Pierre-Philippe MarcouSunday best for this pooch is a red plaid coat and movie star suns: © Agence France-Presse, photo by Pierre-Philippe Marcou

 

 Pets wait in line to get blessed on St. Anthony's Day.  Plaid are in for dogs this winter: © Reuters, photo by Susana VeraPets wait in line to get blessed on St. Anthony's Day. Plaid are in for dogs this winter: © Reuters, photo by Susana Vera

 

 Pet ferret tries a drink from the holy water scepter: © Arturo Rodriguez via commercialappeal.comPet ferret tries a drink from the holy water scepter: © Arturo Rodriguez via commercialappeal.com

 

Maybe there weren't as many farm animals receiving blessings in Madrid as there were elsewhere in Spain, where this clearly prize-winning goat patiently awaits his blessing...

 

 Goat receives blessings in Churriana, Spain: © AFP/Getty Images, photo by Jorge GuerreroGoat receives blessings in Churriana, Spain: © AFP/Getty Images, photo by Jorge Guerrero

 

Blessing our pets and farm animals is a wonderful idea that all denominations should undertake.  After all, who deserves blessings more than they do?  In Spain, they also bless pet owners on this day.

sources: The Vancouver Sun, Commercial Appeal, The Guardian, UK

Keeping you posted!

 

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