New best friends for the man upstairs: Priest blesses Slope pets at annual ritual

Good boy: Father Frank Spacek blessed this smiling pooch during the annual ritual outside Park Slope’s St. Saviour Church on Sunday.
Photo by Zoe Freilich

Bark the herald angels sing!

Priests at a Park Slope Catholic church welcomed a furrier flock than usual on Sunday, when a group of dogs and cats joined faithful animal-lovers for the parish’s pet blessing. And the annual ritual, which clergy held in name of the critters’ patron saint and drew participants of all creeds, was touching, according to attendees.

“I thought it was a beautiful idea to bless the animals,” said Brenda Parnes, a Jewish neighborhood resident who went with her 7-year-old terrier, Honey, at the suggestion of friends. “It was adorable.”

About a dozen doe-eyed furballs and their owners gathered outside Eighth Avenue’s Church of St. Savior for the Blessing of the Animals, which was held days before the Oct. 4 feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, who was canonized in part for his devotion to all creatures great and small.

Father Frank Spacek intoned the blessing before the menagerie of man and beast, praying not only for the animals, but also for the wisdom of their masters, according to one parishioner.

“It’s a very nice blessing,” said Park Slope resident Catherine Magyera, who brought her Shetland sheepdog, Catch. “Not only does the animal get a blessing, but the prayer that goes along with it is very nice. It encourages people to be kind to the earth and nature, and encourages them to do good with their animals.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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