- Title: Priest blesses animals in Nice for Saint Francis of Assisi festivities
- Date: 2nd October 2016
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (French) PET OWNER, IRENE, WHO CAME WITH HER CAT "JOHNNY", SAYING: "I've brought him here three times and since he's often tired, I say it's (the blessing) a kind of protection, you see. He's sweet, look, I am a Maine Coon." GLASS WINDOW IN CHURCH DEPICTING SCENE FROM BIBLE FLORINI GIVING SERMON / WORSHIPPERS IN CHURCH DOG / NUN SEATED MASS IN SESSION
- Embargoed: 17th October 2016 18:38
- Keywords: animals Church blessing Saint Francis of Assisi Nice Father Gil Florini
- Location: NICE, FRANCE
- City: NICE, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Arts/Culture/Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA00552B9NWN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Worshippers in Nice gathered at the Saint Pierre d'Arene Church on Sunday (October 2) to have their pets blessed as part of a mass in celebration of the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment.
Pets of all kinds were welcome at the ceremony, though cats and dogs were the main participants as Father Gil Florini splashed them with holy water making his way through the crowed aisles.
Though the blessing of animals is a disputed practise among some Roman Catholics, many owners expressed their joy in taking part.
"I wanted to come and see lots of animals and to bless them because we like them. It brings us so many good things and we're often a lot less disappointed by animals than by people," pet owner Daniele Pastorelli who brought her cat and dog, said.
Cats and dogs sat quietly in the Church's aisles as their owners attended the mass, the tenth edition of its kind.
Father Florini, who is also locally known for blessing cell phones and running a beer and Pastis brewery, said the ceremony was open to all.
"The idea is really to have a celebration, to share a moment of happiness on a common subject, which is the life of an animal for the celebration of Saint Francis of Assisi," he said.
Francis who gave up the life of a playboy and soldier and all his worldly goods to dedicate himself to the poor and preach the way of peace, died in 1226. His hometown, Assisi, attracts millions of Christian pilgrims every year.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None