"I will cherish you and care for you
the way God intended for Man to care for all His Creation.
I promise that you will not feel hunger, fear or pain.
That I will not give you up in times of sickness,
The way I know you will stand by me all the days of my life.
You are truly God’s gift to me and my family.”
Teary-eyed pet owners broke into applause after the touching ceremony.
Such was the highlight of the special mass (concelebrated by Society of Don Bosco priests Father Joey Paras and Father Jess Escala) held in honor of the St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. After the mass, the two priests proceeded to bless the pets individually, much to the delight of the shutterbug pet parents.
Despite appeals to limit the picture-taking away from the altar, both priests were repeatedly asked to pose with the newly-blessed pets which included dogs, cats, turtles, birds and even a rabbit.
The animal-loving priest elicited much laughter from the crowd by starting the mass with "In the name of the.. Philippine Animal Welfare Society .." just as parishioners were making the sign of the cross.
Communion songs were rendered by PAWS celebrity supporters, Jonalyn Viray, Jan Nieto and Harry Santos.
Prior to the Mass, a life-sized statue of St Francis of Assisi was paraded around Eastwood City. Fr. Jess was pleased that the procession participants were able to pray the rosary as the day was also the Feast of the Holy Rosary.
"We are very happy with the turnout which was almost double than last year's. More than anything else, I think people are here to advocate kindness to animals as all religions encourages people to be kind and compassionate," says Anna Cabrera, PAWS Executive Director and the Philippine Ambassador of World Animal Day.
For more photos click PAWS Pet Blessing October 7 2012 at Eastwood City