Drive-through holy water blessing of cats and dogs in the Philippines

NEWS AND VIEWS: Family pets have been blessed with holy water in Quezon City, Philippines at a drive-through ceremony to mark the feast of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and to mark World Animal Day.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way they bless their pets in the Philippines. In the picture on this page you see a catholic priest in Quezon City sprinkling holy water over the dogs who appear out of the open window of a passing car excitedly trying to figure out what is going on. One of the dogs appears to be licking the water as it is delivered!

Priest blesses a dog in a passing car in Quezon City
Priest blesses a dog in a passing car on World Animal Day, in Eastwood Mall, Quezon City, Philippines, Oct. 4, 2020. Photo: Reuters/Eloisa Lopez.

The Philippines is suffering the highest number of infections of the coronavirus in Southeast Asia at 322,497. One of the event’s organisers, Richie Pascual, said that they had to adapt to the new world as dictated by the pandemic and decide on a drive-through holy water blessing.

Filipinos probably want to have their pets blessed with holy water because their pets are part of the family. I guess if they bless people they must bless their pets as well. Not that any of the companion animals have a clue what is going on. Do you think that animals can be religious like people? No, religion is an entirely human construct for human benefit but if the blessing of their pets makes them happier than it’s a good thing.

This is a good opportunity to discuss why Catholics i.e. humans, bless themselves with holy water when entering a church. It is a reminder of their baptism. The water signifies the Holy Spirit’s action in baptism. It also helps the person to transition from the secular world into the House of God. Some believe that it protects them against evil and is a cleansing of venial sin. “Venial” means a sin that is not regarded as depriving the soul of divine grace.

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