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Blessing of the Animals Starts This Weekend

Sept. 29, 2004 – To observe the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, Catholics across the territory will head to church with their pets for the annual Blessing of the Animals. All pets are welcome, including dogs, cats, donkeys, fish, iguanas, birds, mice, snails and even unicorns.
"St. Francis of Assisi was known for his love all God's creatures," Rev. Charles Crespo at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church on St. John, said.
He said the event is always held close to St. Francis of Assisi's feast day, which is Oct. 4.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel will hold its Blessing of the Animals at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. Crespo said it would be a modest ceremony because the church property is a construction site. The church is nearing the end of building a new church.
St. Mary's School in St. Croix will hold its event from 10 a.m. to around noon in front of Holy Cross Church. The actual blessing will begin at 11 a.m. Evita Patton, administrative assistant, said that St. Mary's School does it up big with donkey rides, face painting, and balloons. Food and T-shirts sporting pets' photos will be for sale.
"And the animal shelter will bring dogs for adoption," Patton said.
Saints Peter and Paul School will hold its Blessing of the Animals at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Barbara Kenny, assistant principal, said that the event would be held for children in grades pre-kindergarten through five.
"The younger kids really get a kick out of it," she said.
The students are requested to bring their pet or a plant to be blessed.
However, all the big animals must go home with an adult right after the ceremony.
St. Joseph Church on St. Croix plans to bless animals at 7 p.m. Monday.
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