Pet Blessings, an October tradition, took place in the local Catholic community earlier this month.
More than 110 parishes and shrines in the Archdiocese of Chicago area have hosted outdoor animal blessings to celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and the environment, and was also a deacon, said Andy Beierwaltes de Niles, a deacon from Saint-Jean BrÃ©beuf parish in Niles.
âIt is an exciting day,â Beierwaltes said of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, because âFor deacons, especially the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, our tradition is that he was a deacon, so we hold him in very high regard.
Beierwaltes led the Pet Blessing on October 4 with Reverend Przemek Tomczyk, Associate Pastor of St. John Brebeuf Parish. During the blessing, Beierwaltes wore a PPE mask with an image of Saint Francis of Assisi.
âGod gave us these animals to travel with us through life to be our companions, to give us joy and to give us comfort sometimes,â Beierwaltes said.
âWe are all the creation of God.
This Monday afternoon along the Gladd Garden, Tomczyk walked around the pets, using holy water with the blessing.
“The blessing of animals for the celebration of Saint Francis of Assisi is always a pleasure,” said Tomczyk, “It’s always interesting.”
Tomczyk described the most unusual pet he has blessed.
âLast year I had the blessing of a chicken, but a really well-groomed chicken, I’ve never seen a chicken that’s as well-groomed as last year,” Tomczyk said, adding that the chicken âBehaved well, the most well-behaved chicken. “
The chicken was presented during a pet blessing in Saint-Jean-BrÃ©beuf parish, Tomczyk said.
âIt was brought in by a young couple and he sat down and he was just waiting for a blessing,â Tomczyk said.
Feline creatures were seen at this year’s Pet Blessing, as well as many dog ââbreeds. 16-year-old Natalia Mialkowski, from Niles, a junior at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, brought in Lulu, 2, a Pomeranian.
The blessing of the pets made “the feeling that they are with us, that they are also an integral part of our life,” said Natalia.
Reverend Jason Torba, pastor of Saint-Jean-BrÃ©beuf parish, said the pet blessing was âwonderfulâ.
Torba was born in Poland and has a European tradition of blessing pets, “we’ve always done it in the village,” he said.
âWe want to bless them.
Odie, 4 months, a mini Bernadoodle puppy male from Glenview, was accompanied by her family, Fritzie and Marl Albarillo from Glenview, and the children of the couple Ava, 10, a fifth year and Emma, ââ8, a third year .
Fritzie admitted that to her children Ava and Emma, ââOdie is “their third brother,” she laughed.
âHe has become a Catholic today.
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