Deacon Bill Wilson presided over a blessing of animals ceremony Oct. 3 on the grounds of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square. Mike Ehrmann photo
Deacon Bill Wilson presided over a blessing of animals ceremony Oct. 3 on the grounds of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square. Mike Ehrmann photo
The beloved tradition of blessing of pets in observance of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi was upheld in many parishes on or near Oct. 4. While the majority of parishes happily welcomed dogs, cats, goldfish, birds, rabbits and even stuffed animals for special outdoor prayer services, Visitation Parish, Brick, turned to technology and held a virtual blessing instead. The blessing took place during the 9 a.m. livestreamed Mass, accommodating those parishioners with pets who may have been watching from home or those might have been tuning in from their cars in the parish parking lot.

Photo Gallery: Virtual Blessing of Animals in Visitation Parish, Brick

Photo Gallery: Blessing of Animals in St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square

Father Edward Blanchett, pastor of Visitation Parish, said that although the parish wasn’t able to invite pet owners to Visitation Church as it has in the past several years, he hoped that the virtual blessing would serve as a reminder that “all of God’s creatures – human and otherwise – continue to be part of his divine plan.

"Each has a part to play in the unfolding of God’s love for creation," he said. “Hopefully, this was brought to mind by not only those who presented their pets for blessing but all who participated at Mass in person and via livestream.”