There was a clatter of claws and a flurry of fur at the first blessing of the pets service held at St Patrick’s parish in Sydney’s inner west suburb of Mortlake last weekend.
A box of silkworms and three rats were the most unusual pets to be brought to the Gale Street church grounds for a blessing from parish priest Father Tom Stevens.
The morning on 20 October included stalls, a sausage sizzle, craft activities and a raffle with proceeds donated to the RSPCA Living Ruff program which helps the homeless and their pets.
Father Stevens said he was delighted at the turn-out for the event held in honour of the October 4 feast of St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, and following an 800-year-old tradition in a 21st century spirit of outreach.
“We saw this as an opportunity for a community-building event that not only Catholics but others can understand and engage in,” said Father Stevens.
Being on a peninsula, with its natural boundaries, he says makes it somewhat easier to build community spirit in the parish, but he also is keen to keep reaching out to the wider community.
Several other parishes host animal blessing services during October including St Columba’s Parish in Leichhardt North which also held a ‘purrrfect’ event on 20 October.