This past Thursday was a special day for pet owners in Mexico. And a number of other Catholic countries. It was the feast day of Saint Anthony the Abbot.
Anthony lived in the 3rd and 4th centuries after Christ. He is remembered for cutting himself off from all civilization and living in the desert with only animals as his friends. Now he is considered a patron saint of animals (and a few other things, such as basket weavers and grave diggers).
Anyway, on the 17th of January pets galore are brought to certain churches to be blessed (not just in Mexico – services are on the rise in other countries, such as the USA). Birds, cats, turtles, horses and chickens all come to the churches to be sprinkled with holy water. Then the priest reads a special prayer of blessing.
Pet owners hope for a long life, and perhaps better behaviour if Fido is a bit mischievous. Some claim that faithful annual attendance is the reason for the ripe old age of their beloved animal.
I’m curious. What do you think about this? Would you take your pet to church to be blessed? Would you like to have a service like this at your church?