Proud owners and their pets pictured at the blessing of the animals ceremony
PET owners brought their favourite companions along to a special religious event this weekend in Limerick.
A Blessing of Animals service took place in St Michael’s Primary School, an event organised by Church of Ireland Limerick City and Limerick Animal Welfare.
The free event aimed to raise awareness surrounding animal welfare in Limerick and was a great success according to Rev Paul Fitzpatrick, who led the service.
“It was a great event, and we’re very happy with the turnout,” said Rev Fitzpatrick, who lost his own beloved dog since last year’s blessing was held.
“Since we gathered here last year, our beautiful samoyed snow-white, fuzzy, furry and faithful friend Freddie passed away through terminal illness,” he said at the event. “He was eleven and a half years old.”
“We were heartbroken, distraught and genuinely bereft of a family member,” he said, “the process under the great care of our vet was traumatic.
“We miss our beautiful companion. We were blessed indeed. Thank God.”
Freddie gave true meaning to ‘a man’s best friend’, according to Rev Fitzpatrick, who said: “What Freddie gave me was the presence of a true companion.
“No matter how long, poor, badly-behaved happy or brilliant I might have been, Freddie was constant. He loved the family and I not because we did things for him ....well maybe a little bit.... but he loved us just because.”
“It didn't change from day to day,” he explained, “it was consistent huge and wonderful.”
“In fact, on many an occasion I preferred to be in Freddie's company than family community or the divine,” he admitted.
“I didn't need to try to understand him. He just got me. Call me crazy.
“It is one reason why God sent us animals to love us so that we could know and feel the love of God like that.
“That's why animals are not merely here for our use or gain but for our conversion,” he added.
Rev Fitzpatrick believes that animals have the ability to teach us many things.
1. Savour the moment. There is only now. This moment.
2. Keep focused on what's most important.
3. Take time to rest. We rush, don't we? Haven't we envied the sleeping cat/dog. How do they do it?
4. Practice forgiveness. The continuity of their lives takes precedence over reliving or replaying the past.
At the end of the service, Rev Fitzpatrick discussed a passage from the bible which read: " Ask the animals and they will teach you, the birds if the air and they will tell you ...and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
“In his hand is the life of every living thing.”