I promise to 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, nor pain.
That I will not give you up in times of sickness
the way that I know you will stand by me all the days of my life.
I will not confine you to a cage or leash
I will provide you with exercise and companionship
I will be responsible for you in a way
that my fellow human beings will not be angry at you
nor punish you for roaming in the streets
This is my pledge to you
And with the help of God
Let me keep this promise.
From the entrance antiphon all the way up to the final blessing, one could see that this was not your usual Mass.
Booger, a Belgian Malinois, carried a basket of flowers in his mouth and walked alongside his owner , Atty. Byron San Pedro. Officiating priest, Fr. Joey Paras, SDB, could not help hide his amusement at the “offeror” and the others waiting in line behind Booger. All other offerors marched with their pets as they carried candles, flowers and fruits.
Also present were two shelter dogs - "aspins" (Asong Pinoy) Piolo and Gary wearing "ADOPT ME" vests, as a reminder to people that the organizers of the mass were open to inquiries about pet adoptions after the Church service.
Fr. Paras jokingly said that he half expected the First and Second Readings to be delivered by a parrot and a mynah bird.
But the good priest’s homily was nothing but serious: he echoed the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi – to always treat the animals with kindness because they are God’s creation as well. He called on people to stop using the terms “hayop ka!” or “kahayupan” for condemnable human acts and to always conduct themselves in a manner that would show that they are respectful of all forms of life.
All pet owners patiently waited in line for the special blessing that Father Paras gave to each and every one of the more than 150 pets in attendance with their proud guardians. There was one turtle though who did not get the sign of the cross on his ‘forehead’ because the owner warned the priest that the grumpy amphibian had the nasty habit of snapping on fingers
The same scene unfolded at Eastwood City Central Plaza the next day. Before the mass, devotees of St. Francis participated in a procession of the life-sized statue of the saint around the area with an estimated 300 pets and 800 pet owners and family members.
Attendees went home feeling light-hearted with strains of the final song “Colors of the Wind” still playing in their heads. “Singing Bee” siren Apple Chiu sang the fitting finale song at Fort Bonifacio High Street while Philippine Idol finalists Arms Cruz & Ynah Pangan rendered a duet version at Eastwood City.
Aside from the generous support of ALPO, the PAWS Animal Blessings were also sponsored by Frontline Plus, Krispy Kreme and Shopaholic Pooch.com
For more photos click PAWS Pet Blessing 2008