Blessing of the Pets

January 29, 2015 / Events
Rome, Lazio
santantonio4As per tradition, the Festa di Sant’Antonio Abate was celebrated in Rome this year on January the 18th and 19th at the church of Sant’Eusebio by Piazza Vittorio on the Esquilino hill.

What a cacophony! Cats, dogs, and birds mostly, competing with the priest’s sermon coming over the PA system. A veritable three ringed circus… occasionally a furry friend managed to break free and would proceed to tear around between the pews causing sheer pandemonium by playfully taunting its still securely leashed brethren.

At mass’ end, the priest marched humans and animals alike out of the church and under the front portico, for some singing (by humans, some general howling and meowing by the beasts). Then the pets and their owners were blessed one by one. In absentia too! One lady brought a photo album with pictures of her 18 cats and asked the priest if blessing it would count (he said yes), herding cats being notoriously difficult.



by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

7 Responses to “Blessing of the Pets”

  1. Maryanne Maggio Hanisch

    My parish is Franciscan, and we have the blessing of the animals in October, when the Feast of St. Francis is celebrated. A very popular event!

  2. This is such a wonderful annual event! Friends of Roman Cats, a California nonprofit has our own Blessing our Animals Give Us in early March.

  3. We. at the Washington National Cathedral (Episcopalian) also have the Blessing of the Animals in October on St. Francis’ Day, where people bring any animal or pet including hamsters, turtles, etc. for the blessing. It is a very festive and popular event and a wonderful tribute to St. Francis.

  4. Christina Pedota Polidore

    Wonderfully heartwarming for all of us Animal Lovers, grazie.


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