Daft dogs, curious cats, beautiful budgies, pretty parrots, gorgeous guinea pigs and all creatures great and small packed into St Anne's Cathedral for a special blessing of the pets.
Irish News reports that the service was held close to St Francis of Assisi Day, traditionally celebrated on October 4. It was inspired by St Francis' love of animals. After a short service featuring appropriate music on the organ and from the cathedral choir, there were readings, and each individual pet received a blessing. The Dean of Belfast, Rev Stephen Forde, said in today's technological world, it was easy to forget how important animals are for so many people. "A guide dog is a blind person's eyes. Hearing dogs can be an essential companion for those who are deaf. Rescue dogs play a critical part in finding survivors lost on the mountains or trapped after an earthquake," he said. "The benefit of pets visiting those living in residential homes is also increasingly recognised. Pets provide a real source of companionship for people who live alone, or simply a reason for exercise for those who need to walk more. "In all these ways, pets and animals are a blessing to us as humans. So it's right for us to celebrate the part they play in our lives at this year's pets' service, and to share God's blessing with the animals of God's good creation." (Story source: Irish News)