St. Celestine blesses pets
Father Grob blesses Nami, a Norwegian forest cat, held by owner Bob Mitchell, OFS. Father Jeffrey Grob held a pet blessing in front of St. Celestine School on Saturday afternoon. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 12, 2012 11:08AM
ELMWOOD PARK — Blessings aren’t just for people and on Saturday birds, cats, dogs, goldfish and pets of all kinds received a blessing at St. Celestine Catholic Church.
Rev. Jeffrey S. Grob, pastor of the church located at 3020 N. 76th Court, stood outside the church’s school Oct. 6 among a sea of pet owners and their pets on a sunny afternoon to do a mass blessing of the pets, splashing holy water among the crowd. Then about 70 pet owners got in a line to receive an individual blessing.
Rev. Arthur Sowa, the church’s associate pastor, who was in attendance, said the event was done in honor of St. Francis of Assisi’s feast day, which falls on Oct. 4, but they decided to do the pet blessing Saturday so that more people could bring their pets. St. Francis is the patron saint of animals and the environment, and Sowa said that is what the event was all about.
“He (St. Francis) was really stressing the connection with God through nature and the beauty of creation,” he said.
Sowa said the various pets, mostly dogs, were checking each other out most of the time and there were no major disruptions during the event.
“They were kind of testing the ground, barking,” he said. “It took a little time before everyone got comfortable.”
Rev. Grob, who has birds as pets, was even able to bless one of his birds at the event.
Sowa said everyone in attendance appreciated the blessings.
“The people really enjoyed it because they love their pets,” he said. “It’s a different way of connecting with God, it’s giving thanks for his blessings but in a different way.”