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Local Priest Blesses Santa Barbara Zoo Animals

Pet owners took their animals to Catholic churches all over the world for a special ceremony this weekend.

The annual Blessing of the Animals celebrates the life of patron Saint Francis of Assisi.

Animals who couldn’t make it to church, got a special visit from Fr. Larry Gosselin of the Santa Barbara Mission.

For the second year in a row, Gosselin sprinkled holy water and said a prayer for every single creature at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

“Two years ago we decided that the zoo animals could not come to the Mission for a blessing, so Fr. Larry and I decided we would come to them,” said Claudia Chyla, the blessing organizer.

Gosselin walked around the zoo and called many of the animals by name.

“Marylou, we ask that the Lord would just bless you and fill you with great joy and great peace and we thank God for the wonderful creature that you are and may you be filled with many blessings,” he said as he sprinkled holy water on the alligator.

The priest believes the animals understand what’s going on.

“It makes me very wonderful inside to feel that the animals can sense the sacredness of this thing and that there is a relationship, there is a depth of relationship here with the animals and that we are bringing God’s blessing,” he said.

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