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Christ Church Bay Ridge hosts annual pet blessing ceremony

BAY RIDGE — Pets are blessings and they were treated as such at Christ Church Bay Ridge during its annual blessing of the animals.

Held on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 11:45 a.m. in the church yard, at 7301 Ridge Blvd., the event attracted area residents who brought their furry friends. The animals were blessed individually, and each animal received a certificate signed by Father Lawrence De Lion.

The event was held to mark the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, Oct. 4, De Lion explained. “Part of the history and tradition of the church is then to bless all creatures great and small as part of the celebration of his saint’s day,” he noted.

This was De Lion’s first time performing the ceremony in Bay Ridge.

Steve Sophocleous, his son Andy, and their dog Ozzy, and Simon and Marlena Shamoun and their dog Jake.

“I believe before [this year] we had it indoors,” he said. “We wanted to bring it outdoors so that people would be able to come and it seemed to me there were a good amount of people who came out to have their animal blessed.”

He discussed the importance of having a day for pets.

“It’s one of the most enjoyable things I do all year because people love their pets,” De Lion explained. “It’s a joy to do it.”

Although this year De Lion mostly blessed cats and dogs, he hopes in future years other animals will attend.

“I was in Chicago for 15 years and when I was there, people brought cockatoos and Vietnamese hedgehogs,” he said. “If people find out that we are willing to do this , they will bring all sorts of interesting pets in years to come.”

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