don't think my parish priest wants to bless my new dog


I’ve come to the parish office twice, left a note, then called again and left a voice mail message, and my parish priest hasn’t replied yet.

I was told that he’s very diligent in responding to his messages so I’m starting to wonder if the parish priest just doesn’t want to be bothered by me and by blessing my dog.

I feel really hurt because I don’t consider this a huge request and I’m considering changing parishes.

Thanks for listening. Please pray for me.

This is a first. I’ve seen a new car get blessed. But never heard someone wanting to get their dog blessed. Interested to see what others have to say.

Your priest just may be very very busy and considering the schedules most of them keep, blessing someone’s dog is probably on the bottom when he may be to go to the hospital. why don’t you wait until October when there is a blessing for pets (at least most parishes offer this around the feast of St. Francis). If your parish doesn’t offer this, find another one nearby that does and go then. to leave a parish over this when he is very busy is a bit much. Have some consideration for your priest because this can wait.

I would remind him that he travels upon the bark of Peter.

My old parish had a once a year blessing of the pets interestingly enough. I have never attended another parish that did as such. Thus was done a Sunday afternoon on the church lawn.
I hope your priest will respond either way and if he does not/can not I’m sure he’ll explain why.

Not all priests may necessarily like the idea of blessing animals :shrug: Maybe he forgot to get in touch, or perhaps he’s actually busy with more important things to do :shrug: Instead of being upset, maybe you want to humbly ask in person whether he is ok with blessing pets, and if he says yes, then you ask him about your new dog :wink: I don’t think that it is a good approach to behave as if you had the right or as if he had the obligation to bless your new dog. If he does not like the idea, just be nice and don’t insist and perhaps talk to another priest :shrug: But this is certainly no reason at all to consider changing parrish. Note that while the Book of Blessings does have an order for the blessing of animals, it is described as follows:

According to the providence of the Creator, many animals have a certain role to play in human existence by helping with work or providing food and clothing. Thus when the occasion arises, for example, the feast of some saint, the custom of invoking God’s blessing on animals may be continued.

Thus, see, there is a possibility that a priest may object to blessing a pet, or to bless animals outside of a given dedicated day of the year, and there would be nothing wrong with that :o

Anyways it is kind of you to display such love for your new dog. I had only one dog in my life, who lived with me for over 10 years, we basically grew together. It was a life-changing experience for me, and surely made me see the animal realm in a different way.

Several Catholic churches have an annual Blessing of Animals on or near the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, in early October. You might want to take your dog to that one next year.

Interestingly enough, the Anglican church in my town also recognizes the feast of St. Francis with a blessing of animals at their church, although obviously I’d take my pet to the Catholic one. I was just a little surprised that the Anglicans recognized St. Francis as well.

Back in the day when a priest (or even several priests) were assigned to just one parish, it used to be a simple matter to just call and take Fido or Fluffy to be blessed. However, nowadays, a lone priest might be covering two or even three worship sites, aided by parish administrative personnel, and he just might not be available for a quick stop at the rectory. In the meantime, you could pick up a St. Francis medal, and attach it to your dog’s collar. There are some inexpensive ones, as well as some high-end and engraveable ones out there for sale.

I can imagine there are priests whose concern is so primarily for human souls and welfare that they may not be comfortable in blessing animals, particular those who are naturally not fond of animals but quite detached from them. It’s not usual practise to bless domestic pets and I can well imagine that some priests would feel uncomfortable and backed into a corner if pressured to bless a domestic animal.

It is more likely to be a Franciscan parish that has annual blessings for pets. I can just imagine how my Dad would have reacted had he been a priest and someone asked him to bless their dog. He would have found it strange and feel uncomfortable. He was a lovely man but there was no place for animals. He regarded my fondness for animals with a kind of affectionate amusement. Men don’t change their basic natures simply because they become priests.

In any case, a busy priest will have to prioritize amongst many responsibilities unknown to you. To expect him to come to your house to bless your dog, and to continue asking when you say he usually does respond immediately…well he would know by now most likely so perhaps you need to leave him the freedom to escape the request the best he can, or comply to it, according to his decision.

Certainly ask God, and trust God to bless your dog, God from whom all blessings come.

God grant you peace. Your two new threads today indicate your dissatisfaction with your priest.
May God inspire and guide you according to His love and wisdom

Father should respond to you. If it was my dog and I wanted him blessed, I would make it as easy on the priest as possible by asking if I could bring the dog to him for the blessing. Why not ask him after Mass, if you can catch him outside?

As others have said:

The Feast of St Francis is normally the feast day for blessing animals.
Your priest may see this as a low priority in terms of the other things and issues he must deal with everyday.
Your priest should respond to you out of courtesy (even to say “no”)

I will add:

Is this the “real” reason you are considering changing parishes?

Do you live around any other parishes? Go see if there is another priest who will bless your dog.

Why is it important for you to have you pet blessed?

I ask that because I am one on my own here even in Anglicanness that I haven’t had anything blessed and personally believe that God doesn’t look at Blessed items any different to non blessed items. This year through whatever I got the parish priest to bless my bible but anonymously on a sunday morning service because a) Im shy and b) I didn’t want to hurt another who had given me a crucifix to wear for my 40th birthday and wanted me to have it blessed etc and my mum had managed to somehow persuade her of my own stance on things blessed. It took effort for me to ask the Priest and I fully explained why I wanted it anonymously and he complied and he didn’t actually bless it per se at the end of the service as most items have been done so in the past for others which gave me some moments of panic thinking he forgotten or done it some other time because normally items are placed on a little table off the Altar where items to be blessed are placed. But when the two chalices were brought to the Altar Table my Bible was on them and he placed the Bible in front and was there throughout that part of the service and went back with the Chalices. I was happy, No one else in our parish has had anything like that at the Sunday Morning Service for the last 25 years at least. I had got my request at anonymous and as close to God as possible but it not be something I’d regulary want as do believe God don’t sneeze on it if not Blessed.
If you have some particular reason why you want your dog Blessed then perhaps you could perhaps arrange to speak the priest in private at some point as ask him if he will do it for you and explain your reason at wanting this to happen. He does have a schedule to keep but also most priests seem to have time to listen and value what is important to us even if to thems seems unimportant. The office you ring may not be very good at passing calls on or think it low priority so unforunately at the bottom of the list but if you get chance to speak to the priest yourself then you can explain why it is important for you. If its just the sake of getting something blessed then it a good time to think about that too. :slight_smile:


What would any one have to say?

In Europe it is a tradition to have all the animals in one’s houshold blessed at least once a year, in fact there is certain date that this is done.
In Italy for example it is done in the feast of St. Anthony the Abbot.

Also this follows the tradition of St Francis of Assis whom spoke to the animals and called them brothers.

It’s perfectly normal to have a dog or another animal blessed, just like it’s perfectly normal to have objects blessed, plants blessed, etc. It’s perfectly normal to want God’s blessing on the critters around your house.

St. Roch/Rocco (who famously had a dog); St. Eustace, St. Hubert, and other hunting saints; St. Bernard of Menthon (the founder of the monastery that gave its name to St. Bernard Pass and to Saint Bernard dogs); St. Ailbe; St. Tobit; and many other saints have been associated with dogs. There are also many saints’ days where it’s traditional to get all the animals in a household or on a farm blessed (generally coinciding with spring or fall convenience for farmers).

It’s possible that your priest is allergic to dogs (or more likely, someone else in the parish office is), or has some kind of phobia (or ditto, someone in the office, which would explain why he wouldn’t just out and say something about the problem). Maybe you should ask your priest to either let you know a definite time, or recommend another priest who will be able to bless your dog.

Anglicans (in South Africa, anyway) recognise the same saints the Catholic church does (and some uniquely Anglican saints, if my memory is correct).

An Anglican priest I once knew conducted a “funeral” for someone’s dog. However, this was a very disturbed lady who needed a huge amount of pastoral care and I think he hoped to be able to minister to her through this “need” of hers. She was not Anglican, but came to him for counselling. - Not that I’m suggesting that crenfro is a ‘very disturbed lady’, just that I was reminded of this incident when reading this thread.

The Order for the Blessing of Animals can also be performed by a deacon. Maybe you could find an animal-friendly deacon who would be willing to make a “house call.”

It’s a beautiful tradition to get animals and other things blessed, and by no means unusual. There are blessings for just about anything, from tractors and seeds to salt and stables.

It is very important to me to get my flock blessed- of course, that involves a farm call. :wink:

Many people usually only consider St. Francis’ love of animals and nature- usually pictured as him preaching to the birds, or with the wolf of Gubbio, etc. But how many people know that of all animal creatures, his greatest love was for “those innocent animals representing Christ to men”? He had the pleasure of the company of at least several young lambs, and would frequently redeem lambs that were destined for slaughter, in memory of the Lamb Who gave His life that we may live. He would bring these lambs to church with him, and they would give due reverence. One knelt bleating before the altar of Mary and joined in singing. It was a beautiful custom of his to salute flocks as he passed by, and when he did so, often rams and ewes as well as little lambs would gambol around him. Once, he found that a sow slaughtered a newborn lamb that the ewe gave birth to during the night. Much grieved, he said something that I never forgot- and I am paraphrasing St. Bonaventure here-“Woe is me, brother lamb, innocent animal representing Christ unto men! Accursed be that evil beast which slew thee- let neither man nor beast eat of its flesh forever.” And some time later, the sow died and shriveled up like a piece of wood.

While many attribute these to be stories and legends, but nothing more, I truly believe that all these occurred. None of these things are that unusual for sheep- only these beautiful natural tendencies were greatly magnified. Of course, sheep, particularly in large flock situations, would never run to greet a stranger, and certainly not play around him, especially when mature. But my lambs will leap with joy when they see me coming, run and gambol and pronk about- and even older sheep will too sometimes, when they feel great joy (however sheep experience that). Sheep are attracted to beautiful music and will sometimes bleat when they hear it. I remember a pet ewe lamb I brought into the living room one winter day and we were singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and she would bleat until the song ended. So I can only imagine what the tremendous holiness of a great saint would compel a sheep to do! :slight_smile:

I picked St. Francis as my flock’s patron saint as well as mine- there seems to be no reason why couldn’t you choose a saint for a dog.

I don’t know what to tell you about the priest, so I think you got good advice here. But do rest assured that there is nothing wrong with blessing animals! We live in a very traditional parish and our priest has no objection to blessing animals any time of the year.

Have you gotten your house blessed? You could certainly ask to get your dog blessed then.

Pax et bonum!

You are seriously thinking of changing parishes because for whatever reason the Priest has not responded to a request to bless a dog…

First time for everything I guess.

You sure that’s the real reason for thinking of leaving?

God bless you all for your sane replies.

I was upset when I posted this particular time and could now kick myself. I’m sorry for my post and I agree with your post – in fact, it’s one of the reasons I like to post here – I get honest and sane replies from good, fellow Catholics and it helps me see things in the proper perspective.

I ended up talking with my therapist about this and felt like a fool and the humility was very helpful for me.

And no, I’m not changing parishes. Can do more good by staying put.

Thank you all and please pray for me.

And by the way, my new dog is getting blessed this week. We have an appointment.

That is great news to me you are staying in your parish. I would hate to see someone leave for that such reason. I am also thrilled you are getting the blessing for your pet!
Prayers for you on the way.

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