Monday, October 22, 2012

Pet Blessing

image credit: Veronica Ng
Dogs, cats, animals. They came in various sizes, just like their owners, for a special ceremony at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) recently to be blessed in an inter-faith pet blessing organized by the Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) in conjunction with World Animal Day.

The event is believed to be the first of its kind to be held in Kuching, and was part of the World Animal Groove (WAG) Music Festivities. The ceremony was a symbolic gesture signifying that pets were a blessing to their owners.

The day is also the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. As the founder of the order of Franciscan friars, St Francis embraced all God’s creatures and referred all animals as his “brothers and sisters”.

SSPCA president Dona Drury-Wee said each pet will receive a certificate to commemorate the occasion. Pet owners can also opt for a private blessing for their pets. Besides the certificate, those who opt for private blessing will also receive a photograph of themselves with their pet.

To cover the costs for the certificates, photograph and other arrangement, SSPCA will charge RM10 per pet owner who opts for the group pet blessing and RM30 each for those who opt for the private blessing.

Since 1931, World Animal Day has become a day for remembering and paying tribute to all animals and the people who love and respect them. It is a day to highlight the enjoyable aspects of pet ownership and to recognize the important contribution animals make to society.

“SSPCA works with less fortunate animals. Let’s spare a thought for the thousands of animals out there who do not have a home and say a prayer for them,” said SSPCA chairman Rebecca D’Cruz.

The blessing was conducted by Franciscan friars, Buddhist nuns, Malaysian Hindu Sangam Sarawak branch chairman Penghulu T. Komarusamy, and a Bahai representative. Besides the pet blessing ceremony, a WAG Bazaar featuring various stalls was also held in conjunction with the music festival.

Animal blessing started in Florence, Italy in 1931, in remembrance of St Francis of Asisi, but is now held worldwide to commemorate World Animal Day, celebrated every Oct 4.

Besides the animal blessings, the day’s events also included the WAG Bazaar and the music festival. The bazaar started at noon while the music festival took off at 7pm. 

Click here for review on the music festival.

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