WILLIAMSBURG — Pets of all kinds were welcomed to receive a blessing Tuesday night at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.
Father Prashanth Lobo may only have been a pastor at the church for a year, but he believes the event is important for animals in Whitley County as well as an annual worldwide tradition honoring St. Francis of Assisi.
“In our Catholic Church, we do this especially for Saint Francis, (who is our) patron saint. October 4 is always his feast day, which is why we bless the animals. He viewed animals as ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ (or) God’s creation,” Fr. Lobo said.
Although this church’s animal blessing only includes three dogs and the local church’s cats this year, Fr. Lobo shared that it may be larger in other large-city Catholic churches such as Lexington.
The priest added: “I think we all have to appreciate (not only) each other, but also appreciate how animals have become a part of our life in this world.”
Crystal Laschon and Joe McNaughton chose to bring their dogs to the blessing. Laschon brought his black pug, Milo, and McNaughton brought two of his mixed-breed dogs, Gabby and Phineas.
“His soul is just as important as anyone else’s,” Laschon said when asked why she chose to have Father Lobo bless Milo.
McNaughton added: “Blessings are good. They kind of dedicate things to the service of God – especially dogs. The closest thing I have ever seen to unconditional love on earth is the loyalty of a good dog.