St Joseph's Church East Maitland hosts its second pet blessing

What do you call it when an assortment of dogs and one chicken meet up at a church? A pet blessing of course.

Article originally published in the Maitland Mercury. 

More than 20 dogs and a chicken named Hope gathered outside St Joseph's Church, East Maitland last month to be blessed by Father George Anthicad.

It's the second time the church has run the pet blessing, and there were plenty of wagging tails and smiling faces as pets and people alike greeted each other.

Attendee Pauline Martin brought along her 13-month-old pup Lloyd, and said pets bring people so much joy, so it's only right they be blessed.

"It's very unusual but very meaningful," she said.

"It helps us realise how precious they are."

Parish priest Father George Anthicad read from the Book of Blessings at the gathering, and then blessed each pet with water, alongside assistant priest Father John Vo Vien.

While some animals were taken by surprise at the water blessing, others didn't even notice as there was too much excitement going on.

Fr George said the pet blessing was held in October as it's the month of the Feast of St Francis, who is associated with patronage of animals.

"He loved all creatures, he called them brothers and sisters, so in memory of the saint we also celebrate the feast and bless all the animals," he said.

"And especially [it's] for the children to bring them and get them all blessed.

"They [the kids] all love to come together and that is what really makes it happy, and parents also, we have some elderly parishioners here, they also love to come and be with the children."

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