Bow-wow, take a bow

by Lucille Ong |  Edited on October 10, 2023

Table of contents

Pets blessing event an overwhelming success

The Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary had never seen anything like this before. Over 200 pets, brought by their owners, gathered in St Gregory Hall on September 30. They were there to receive a blessing in conjunction with the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, celebrated on October 4.
Dogs dominated. There were at least 165 of them, followed by 15 cats, 11 rabbits, 7 birds, 2 hamsters, 1 chinchilla, 2 turtles and 2 insects.

Slightly over half the 400 people who came with the pets were from IHM. The rest were from other parishes and a few Christian churches in Singapore. Four priests – IHM parish priest Fr Paul Ngo, assistant parish priest Fr Joseph Kace, Fr Antonio Gonzales, and Fr Vianney Audurieau, a visiting MEP priest – blessed the pets.

The event began with an opening prayer invoking St. Francis of Assisi, followed by a reading from Genesis. After Fr Paul’s sharing and general intercessory prayers, the blessing proper began where the pets were brought up to be individually sprinkled with holy water using a palm frond and prayed over by the priest.

Richard Hogan, a parishioner from the Church of St Anthony, came with his 4-year-old Cavapoo named Truffle. He thought it was a great occasion to see other pet owners from all over the diocese. Ico Sianandar, from Church of St Teresa, came with Lewis, a 2-year old Chihuahua. Ico heard about the event from her friend. Angeline Dimailig from IHM brought her two parrotlets (smallest species of parrot) Hooper (grey) and Halo (white), as she considered it “always good to have a blessing”. Also present from IHM were Ashlee with her 6-year-old white Samoyed-Chou Chou mix named Winter and Marissa who found the event very interesting and very nice to see so many different pets in church. She brought her pet Emily, a red-eared slider turtle going on 8 years old and weighing nearly 3kg, for the blessing. The oldest pet at the event was 23-year-old Kakagu Lim, a white cockatoo belonging to Frances Chew from the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

IHM parishioner Valerie Ann Ng, who organised the event, shared that it came about from a casual remark she made to Fr Paul about having a pet blessing at IHM, since he has two poodles, 10-year-old Lucky (brown) and 7-year-old Angel (charcoal), whom he affectionately calls his “altar girls”. To which Fr Paul replied, “Good idea, you organise it!” The event was announced at the end of August. Response was so overwhelming that registrations had to be closed three weeks early.

Two other Catholic churches in Singapore – Church of St Mary of the Angels and Church of Divine Mercy – also held similar events to bless pets. This year, participants at the IHM pets blessing could order limited edition T-shirts to commemorate the event. All the participants IHM Heartbeat spoke to said that they would definitely come again next year. According to Valerie, the 2024 date for pet blessing at IHM is already set, and those who are interested in taking part can save the date: Saturday, 28 September 2024.

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Pets blessing event an overwhelming success The Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary had never seen anything like this before. Over 200 pets, brought by their owners, gathered in…

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