Virtual blessings for hundreds on World Animal Day

November 12, 2009


A halfinger horse gave rides at the animal blessing at Linz - St. Peter.

More than 800 animals from around the world were blessed by Pastor Franz Zeiger at the parish of Linz - St. Peter on World Animal Day.

The parish's new virtual blessing service is growing in popularity, but about 80 pets were there in person with their owners, who asked for God's blessing.

A popular addition to the day was the arrival of a local veterinarian and her Haflinger horse. Following Holy Mass the children present were given rides on the horse.

Pastor Franz Zeiger said about 250 people came to animal blessing on the church square on October 4.

In his sermon the pastor pointed out that the way animals are treated in a society is an indicator of the value of human life in all of its phases.

Once again balloons were sent out into the world with a message attached calling for a responsible and loving treatment for all of creation.


Pastor Franz Zeiger, at centre, in front of the wall of emailed pictures.


Pastor Zeiger blesses a dog during the ceremony.

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 in recent years the parish started offering world-wide participation, following requests from animal owners who were unable to make the trip for various reasons.

Owners sent by email a picture with the name on it of their animal - including dogs, cats, and horses - to the parish for the animal blessing.

The pictures were posted on a wall and during the ceremony the pictured animals, which are taking part 'from afar', received God's blessing on the intercession of Saint Francis.