Exotic Animals Get Blessings On St. Francis' Feast Day
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Churches looked more like zoos on church Sunday morning, as Christians celebrated the 27th annual feast of St. Francis of Assisi by having animals blessed by the clergy.
At the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Morningside Heights, Manhattan, a camel, kangaroo, tortoise and many more creatures paraded down the aisle.
There were also lots of dogs also in attendance.
All animals received a special blessing as part of the feast day.
Animal lovers said it was special to be able to include their pets in their religion.
"It's a wonderful thing to see it all, and to see people's affections for them, which sometimes make you sort of wonder," said Bishop Mark Sean Sisk of the Episcopalian Diocese of New York. "Having a great love for a tortoise? Well, that's something I never really thought of before."
"It was absolutely so moving, so amazing to see all those magnificent creatures, and to have them blessed, to know that they make our planet a better place," said a worshipper.
The bishop said the day is intended to remind people of their responsibilities in caring for the world and its creatures.