Animals gather for annual blessings in Los Angeles

April 2, 2018, 12:07 p.m.
A dog dressed in Catholic vestments waits to be blessed by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Just before Easter, animals from all around Los Angeles walked, trotted or were carried to Olvera Street and received blessings from the Archbishop Jose H. Gomez. All kinds of animals, from dogs to birds to cattle to pigs to snakes, passed by the archbishop's dais on March 31 and received a sprinkling of holy water.

This has been an Olvera Street tradition since it was founded in 1930, but the blessing of animals dates back much further, to the tradition of blessing animals during the 4th century. Nowadays, the pets and their human companions don't need to be Catholic to receive the blessings, and the event itself is something of an animal party.

A dog is blessed with holy water during the annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony, presided over by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, A dog is blessed with holy water during the annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony, presided over by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, on March 31, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Of course, animals are found throughout many Bible verses, but perhaps the most relevant for this event is Proverbs 12:10. It says that one of the signs of the righteous man is that he cares for his animals. While the verse almost certainly referred to livestock, extending it to pets doesn't seem like much of a leap.

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