Have your horse blessed on World Animal Day

September 22, 2009


Father Franz Zeiger blesses a dog on World Animal Day last year.


Father Zeiger blesses hundreds of cats, dogs, horses, and other pets via pictures received by post and email.

The Pfarre Linz - St. Peter church in Linz, Austria is again offering to bless pets and animals from afar for World Animal Day on October 4.

World Animal Day is celebrated around the world, and marks the commemoration of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the animals. For many years pets living within the boundaries of the Parish have been blessed during Holy Mass on the Sunday nearest World Animal Day. All pets brought to the divine service by their owners are individually blessed.

But a couple of years ago the parish started offering world-wide participation, following requests from animal owners who were unable to make the trip for various reasons.

Owners can send by email a picture with the name on it of their animal - be it a dog, cat, horse, or any other pet - to the parish for the animal blessing.

"For the animal blessing ceremony we will post the animal pictures on a wall again and during the ceremony the pictured animals, which are taking part 'from afar' so to say, will receive God's blessing on the intercession of Saint Francis," said pastor Franz Zeiger.

Last year the parish received 550 e-mails from around the world with 900 pictures of animals requesting prayer and blessing.

"A world-wide participation is possible! Prayer and blessing know no boundaries and encompass the whole world," he said.

"The veterinary surgeon's office of Dr Judith Eigl will, in a meritorious way, take on the costs of the colour prints of all animal photos beginning in 2009," Father Zeiger said.

Participation is free, and after the animal blessing all participants will receive a picture of the celebration by mail or email free of charge.


Blessings from afar: animals whose owners can't make it to the service can still take part.