Priest sprinkles startled pets with holy water!

Many animals were blessed in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Many animals were blessed today in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

The animals were blessed today in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Dozens of beloved pets received a sprinkling of holy water at the annual Benediction of the Beasts, a long-time local tradition.

Monsignor Mark Campbell, Catholic priest of Our Mother of Confidence Parish in University City, administered the blessings. The traditional church ritual, which dates back to ancient times, invokes St. Anthony of the Desert, the Patron Saint of Animals. In the very early years of San Diego, livestock were blessed for an abundant harvest.

I watched for livestock but, alas, didn’t see any.

After today’s blessings, the fun event included a mid-afternoon costume and animal trick contest, which I missed. The male human ritual of watching football could not be violated.

Front row dogs wait patiently for the ceremony to begin.
Front row dogs wait patiently for the religious ceremony to begin.
Monsignor Mark Campbell reads from Genesis and praises faithful pets.
Monsignor Mark Campbell reads from Genesis and praises faithful pets.
Holy water is cast by the Catholic priest upon animals to bestow health and blessings.
Holy water is cast by the Catholic priest upon animals to bestow health and blessings.
Animals lined up for blessings included dogs, cats and rabbits.
Animals lined up for blessings included dogs, cats and rabbits.
These two guys seemed to enjoy the proceedings.
These two guys seemed to enjoy the proceedings.
Bunny rabbits need blessings as much as any other creature.
Cute, furry bunny rabbits need blessings as much as any other creature.
Here comes Chopper, the motorcycle-riding dog, a local celebrity.
Here comes Chopper, the motorcycle-riding dog, a big time celebrity.

Chopper, the canine motorcyclist, is quite the sensation in San Diego. I must’ve seen him on local television news a dozen times. He’s even made a cameo appearance on TMZ!

Chopper rides his motorcycle up to the priest for a sprinkling of holy water.
Chopper rides his motorcycle up to the priest for a sprinkling of holy water.
This dog was a bit spooked and didn't know what to make of things.
This dog was a bit spooked and didn’t know what to make of this craziness.
A cat is fascinated by the shiny aspergillum waving about.
A cat is fascinated by the shiny aspergillum waving about.
One dog seems bored while the other appears suspicious!
One dog seems bored while the other appears suspicious!
A long line of pet owners waited in Old Town during the Benediction of the Beasts.
A long line of pet owners waited in Old Town during the Benediction of the Beasts.

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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