A church in Austria is marking World Animal Day by offering its traditional animal blessing on October 7 to pets from around the world.
Austria’s Pfarre Linz – St. Peter church has offered the international blessing for several years, with pet and animal owners from around the world sending in pictures to be included.
World Animal Day marks the commemoration of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of 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 few years ago the parish started offering world-wide participation, following requests from animal owners who were unable to make the trip for various reasons.
“We will post the pictures on a wall at our animal blessing and the pictured pets will be blessed as part of our ceremony,” said pastor Franz Zeiger.
“They will take part in our animal blessing from afar as we ask for God’s blessing on the intercession of St. Francis. A world-wide participation is therefore possible!”
Participation is free.
Since the blessing went world-wide, more than a thousand pictures have been sent in each year for the blessing.
Again this year there would be a section for pets who are no longer with us. The special section will be entitled: “Thank you, little light!” – “For pets that have accompanied us for part of our path,” pastor Zeiger said. “There will be space for pictures of pets that have died, and that we want to lovingly remember especially on this day.”
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.
The traditional Animal Blessing takes place at the church at 9.30am on Sunday, October 7. Pictures received will be posted on the church’s wall and those animals will also be blessed.
Pictures from the celebration will be available on the church’s homepage, from about October 12.