MIDVALE — The St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish cry room turned into a bark, meow, and chirp room on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi Oct. 4.
Scores of parishioners brought their precious pets to the parish to get blessed. Some pets came in cages, others on a leash, but most of them in their owner’s arms.
“We celebrate God’s creation and honor our animals as a sign of appreciation for their love and God’s graciousness. Pets bring us so much happiness,” said Father Martin Diaz, pastor, to the Intermountain Catholic.
Fr. Diaz blessed the pets in Spanish while Dominican Father Denis Reilly, blessed them in English.
“God spreads His benefits on every living creature and more than once he used the help of animals or their image to insinuate in some way the gifts of salvation,” said Fr. Diaz in Spanish.
The animals were saved during the flood in Noah’s ark and after the flood are forever associated with the Covenant, said Fr. Diaz. He then gave examples of the role animals have played as symbols of God’s plans of salvation.
“The Pascal goat represents the Pascal sacrifice, a great fish safeguarded Jonas, and crows fed Elijah,” he said.
“Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all good things. On the fifth and sixth days of creation you called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air, and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all animals his brothers and sisters.
“May our pets bring us joy and laughter as they shower us with their love. May we in return always take good care of them – that we care for them as we would like to be cared for ourselves. We also remember with thanksgiving all our pets that have died. Let us always praise you for all the beauty that you give us in this good earth. May we be grateful for the variety of creatures that are part of your creation, both wild and tame.
“And so on this feast of St. Francis, we ask that you bestow your blessing upon our pets, large and small, brought forth this day. Grant them good health and happiness today and throughout the year to come,” said Fr. Reilly.
Afterward, every pet was sprinkled with holy water, no matter how good or bad they had behaved.
“She loves to wander around and barks a lot at other dogs. She is very happy,” said Stephanie Yanagui about her 8-month-old dog, Roxy.
“And she has not learned to go potty and sometimes she doesn’t let us know she needs to go,” said Silvia, Yanegui’s mother.
Brownie, a two-year-old Yorkshire, is “very active. He destroys everything. He runs, cries, and plays a lot,” said Adriana Medoza. He has also torn her sons’ pants. Still, the family wanted Brownie to get blessed, “so he won’t die soon,” said Mendoza.