Why did a chicken, goldfish and sheep visit St Joseph’s, East Maitland?

Vee the Sheep, Bubbles the Goldfish, Bruno the Chihuahua, and Johnny Cash the Bantam Hen were just a few of the animals which had an experience as unique as their names last month when they were ceremonially blessed at St Joseph’s, East Maitland.

The group of “animals on leashes, in cages or in arms or bowls” gathered, alongside their owners, under the shade of a large tree for the parishes first Regional Pet Blessing.

Father George Anthicad led the Blessing with support from Father John Vien Vo and Father Graham Fullick. They each walked around meeting the pets before sprinkling them with Holy Water.

“There were many young people joined by people of all ages from various Regional Parishes united in a love of animals and our God who creates and blesses them,” Father Graham said.

“It was great to see people take up the invitation for some friendship and fun and to see a variety of animals.

“At one point we thought the dogs might chase the cats, might chase the hens, or eat the goldfish, but all the animals were on their best and excited behaviour for the blessing. They must have known God is always watching His creation.”

Father George’s intercessory prayers at the event reminded everyone about what animals can offer us and our role in caring for them as God’s creation.

Even though a few of the animals flinched when they were splashed, they were all happy to be there.

“The fish were the only ones that didn't seem to mind the water at all, or is that ‘didn't mind it one drop’,” Father Graham joked.

“The hardest bit when giving the Blessing sprinkling was avoiding having favourites.”

The event was so successful that the parish plans on hosting a Pet Blessing at least once a year.

“Thank you greatly to Bec Piefke and ActiV8 for hosting this for our faith communities,” Father Graham said.

“Hopefully next year we will need a paddock and some kennels too.”