Nearly 100 animals and their human families attended a Blessing of the Animals service at St. Francis Xavier Elementary School on Thursday, October 2. Although the annual service has been held for more than 10 years, this year’s event was the first to be held inside the parish church.
Dogs, cats, goldfish, hamsters, turtles, tortoises and more pets were brought for a blessing by St. Francis Xavier pastor Father Richard Albarano. The event was open to students and their families, along with the general public.
Connor Flynn, age 10, brought his dog Charlie for the blessing. The fifth-grader thought Charlie, a Rottweiler and Beagle mix adopted from the Burbank Animal Shelter last year, would enjoy the company of the other animals.
“I like to participate in school events and this is fun,” said seventh-grader Allison Romagnino, age 12.
Romagnino brought her two desert tortoises, Rocky and Timmy, to the the school’s Blessing of the Animals. This event marked Rocky and Timmy’s second blessing. In the past, Romagnino has brought the family dog, Tino.
“The [line of] animals went completely around the church,” commented Rita Recker, St. Francis Xavier Elementary School Business Manager. “We had to double them up there was so many.”
“They were barking and making all kinds of strange noises during the prayer service,” she added. “Being in the church, we held everyone’s attention the whole time even during the prayers about animals, although it was a little hard to hear the principal above the animals.”
After the prayer service, during which Principal Paul Sullivan spoke, Father Albarano blessed each animal, sprinkling the pet, and nearby people, with water. Deacon Jim Roope assisted.
“All of the animals were each individually blessed,” continued Recker. “And they love to shake and spin to get all the water off of them after the blessing. It was very fun.”