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Pets blessed for love they give owners

Vivian Bias sits with her English bulldog Mandy during a special pet blessing service at St. Ann Church in Chesapeake Wednesday.

Vivian Bias sits with her English bulldog Mandy during a special pet blessing service at St. Ann Church in Chesapeake Wednesday.

CHESAPEAKE — The words of the Rosary blended in a kind of two-part harmony with the barks emanating from the narthex of St. Ann’s Church in Chesapeake.

On Wednesday evening the Rosary was being said prior to the annual Mass said as part of the Feast of St. Francis.

The barks and occasional meows were from the pets waiting their turn to come into the nave to be blessed by Father Charles Moran.

Waiting outside the church with her miniature Schnauzer Darby was Sue Pfaaffenberger.

“I feel it is always good to have the blessing,” she said. “Darby has cancer and needs to be blessed.”

Nearby was Tracey Pabrazinsky of Huntington, who came with Patches, a 10-year-old Jack Russell, and Puss N Boots, a 10-year-old cat.

“St Francis is my favorite saint,” she said. “To me it is lovely that everyone brings their animals to church. Animals provide so much joy to our lives. God created the creatures and we always come to show God we appreciate that we are able to have them.”

The service began with the congregation singing the words of the hymn of St. Francis with a special invitation to the barkers in the church to join in in the chorus.

Then before Moran went to each pet to bless it, he spoke about the value of animals in people’s lives.

“We have to make the commitment to love,” Moran told the congregation. “That is what our animals call us to do. With your love for your animals and the care you give them, we try to encompass the gift of God of love and creation, to bring about the unity he has created for us.