The ceremony was a symbolic gesture signifying that pets were a blessing to their owners.
Dogs, cats, animals. They came in various sizes, just like their owners, for a special ceremony at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) recently to be blessed in an inter-faith pet blessing organized by the Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) in conjunction with World Animal Day.
The event is believed to be the first of its kind to be held in Kuching, and was part of the World Animal Groove (WAG) Music Festivities. The ceremony was a symbolic gesture signifying that pets were a blessing to their owners.
The day is also the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. As the founder of the order of Franciscan friars, St Francis embraced all God’s creatures and referred all animals as his “brothers and sisters”.
SSPCA president Dona Drury-Wee said each pet received a certificate to commemorate the occasion.
Pet owners could also opt for a private blessing for their pets. Besides the certificate, those who opted for private blessing received a photograph of themselves with their pet.
To cover the costs for the certificates, photograph and other arrangement, SSPCA charged RM10 per pet owner who opted for the group pet blessing and RM30 each for those who opted for the private blessing.
It is a day to highlight the enjoyable aspects of pet ownership and to recognize the important contribution animals make to society.
“SSPCA works with less fortunate animals. Let’s spare a thought for the thousands of animals out there who do not have a home and say a prayer for them,” said SSPCA chairman Rebecca D’Cruz.
The blessing was conducted by Franciscan friars, Buddhist nuns, Malaysian Hindu Sangam Sarawak branch chairman Penghulu T Komarusamy, and a Bahai representative. Besides the pet blessing ceremony, a WAG Bazaar featuring various stalls was also held in conjunction with the music festival.
Animal blessing started in Florence, Italy in 1931, in remembrance of St Francis of Asisi, but is now held worldwide to commemorate World Animal Day, celebrated every Oct 4.
Besides the animal blessings, the day’s events also included the WAG Bazaar and the music festival.
Dave Avran is the founder of MARAH (Malaysians Against Rape, Assault & snatcH)
[photo credit: Veronica Ng]