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World Animal Day marked with special service

October 10, 2008

Pastor Franz Zeiger blesses a dog.

Animals including horses, donkeys, cats and dogs who could not be at the service were also blessed.

Hundreds of animals from around the world were blessed at the parish of Linz - St Peter in Austria at the weekend to mark World Animal Day.

Pastor Franz Zeiger said that more than 550 emails from all over the world with photos of animals requesting a blessing were received. "At the animal blessing itself, there were about 80 pets with their owners present asking for God's blessing. Altogether there was a total of about 270 people on the church square," he said.

Pastor Zeiger had received many phone calls and emails from people who could not come to the animal blessing with their pet, so he had the idea for people to send a picture of their pet by post or email.

"Since a pet owner from Germany sent us a picture of his dog last year with the request for the blessing at the animal blessing, the idea immediately came to mind, that in the year 2008 all pet owners could send a picture of their 'animal friend' to the parish in time for the animal blessing," he said.

In his sermon the pastor stressed the responsibility of man for all of creation. The way animals are treated in a society is lastly also an indication of the value of human life in all of its phases.

After Holy Mass children sent balloons into the world with a call for a responsible and loving treatment of all of creation.

Children released dozens of balloons after the service.



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