As is well known, a lot of people got pets during the pandemic. Dogs in particular were in high demand, even though cats still hold the top position. Last year, Germans had a total of 34.7 million pets of all kinds. A blessing for some because they have found an animal friend. For others it’s more of a curse because they need a lot of trust in God in order not to lose faith in being housebroken soon.
Maybe the priest and his holy water can help. At least both the parish of St. Severin in Garching on October 3 and the parish of St. Peter and Paul in Grünwald on October 9 offer animal blessings. It’s not that unusual. The blessing of farm animals in particular has a long tradition in the Catholic Church. In addition to ox, cow and goat, in memory of Saint Francis, dogs and cats have long been considered part of the divine creation with this ritual. Barking and praying are standard.
The Benediktionale, the blessing book of the Roman Catholic Church, also lists almost endless possibilities: Advent wreaths and carol singers, food, herbs and the weather, mothers, transport facilities and even sports, leisure and tourism can be blessed. Anything that doesn’t fall under this could get a chance for divine assistance through rubric number 99: “Blessing of all things.” Cars, for example, or shops. The metal grille on Cologne Cathedral, which was installed two years ago to keep wild peepers, souvenir collectors and sprayers away from the church wall, was also blessed with a great ceremony. Also unforgettable is the Sicilian priest Don Alessandro, who came up with the idea of blessing cell phones.
Number 99 is also a blessing for Grünwald. So you can not only hold up barking and hissing darlings to the priest on the egg meadow, but also stuffed animals. Teddy is not threatened with extinction, as a look at every child’s room overcrowded with cuddly toys proves. It is different with the real polar bear, which is why Archbishop Stephan Burger has already blessed one in the Karlsruhe Zoo. Incidentally, there is no size limit for the blessing of animals in Grünwald. If you are now thinking about the endangered Big Five, we recommend the insect of the year as a smaller native alternative: the black-necked camel-necked fly would also have deserved a blessing.