How pet blessings can make you teary-eyed
Fr. Pedro Sachitula and Fr. Joey Paras, SDB bless the pets

How pet blessings can make you teary-eyed

DOG DAZE - Kathy Moran (The Philippine Star) - October 22, 2019 - 12:00am

The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has been holding its pet blressing for over 10 years now.  

I remember that one of the first pet blessings I attended was with PAWS president Nita Hontiveros-Lichauco. She organized it in her local parish at Our Lady of Mt Carmel, New Manila. At the time, the animals were only allowed in the church courtyard. Today, they are permitted inside the church. But as the number of pet lovers grew, some churches grew stricter with allowing pets inside during the Mass, which led to the “migration” of pet blessing ceremonies to malls and other commercial areas.

It is a practice that celebrates the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the Catholic patron saint for animals and the ecology and it also a way of marking the celebration of World Animal Day.

This year, more than a thousand pet owners flocked to SM Skydome at SM North Edsa for the grand Pet Blessing organized by The Philippine Animal Welfare Society and Pet Express. Guests were availed of free anti-rabies vaccination and consultation provided by vets from De La Salle Araneta University while candles were lit to honor the dearly departed pets whose photos adorned the Pet Memorial Wall that was set-up inside the venue.

Celebrity animal-lovers Karylle and Bianca Umali came to support the event, which also served as a fundraiser for the PAWS Animal Shelter, which cares for more than 300 rescued dogs and cats.

 “We are hoping that one or more of our shelter dogs who were presented onstage today can attract the attention of a good family who can adopt them,” said PAWS executive director Anna Cabrera.

Tonipet Gaba hosted the main program filled with fun games and special awards including the announcement of winners for the first ever “PAWS & PLAY” Online Video Competition. To cap the afternoon festivities, PAWS Volunteers unveiled the 2019 World Animal Day Commemorative Wall composed of hundreds of pet photos sent by netizens.

The special Mass for the animals was celebrated after the program and the highlight was the recitation of the Pet Owners’ Pledge which left many pet owners teary-eyed as they promised not to abandon their pets and to care for them all the days of their lives. After the Mass, Fr. Pedro Sachitula and Fr. Joey Paras, SDB blessed each pet individually.

“It is our duty to be kind to animals. God does not expect anything less from us,” Fr. Joey said during his homily – and tied in the central message of World Animal Day perfectly with the gospel for the day with Jesus’ parable on unprofitable servants. 

It was indeed a very good Sunday for pet lovers and their families.

The PAWS Pet Blessing was made possible with the generous support of Pet Express, SM North Edsa, Purina Supercoat, Friskies, San Miguel Corporation, St. Roche, Pet Backer, Jollibee, Tips ‘N Toes, Swell Sweets, De La Salle Araneta University, HK TV, Mary Grace Café and the Philippine Star Pet Life Section.

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