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Pets get blessed in Mexico

Report by Lauren Hood

Pet owners flocked to a Church in Mexico to have their animals blessed in a special ceremony.

The event marks the feast day of Saint Anthony, known as the protector of animals.

Dogs, cats and even birds were brought to San Bernadino Church, where they were blessed and sprinkled with holy water to protect them from danger and misfortune.

"Bless the water and bless the animals and recommend that they (owners) don't throw them out on the street like waste. That owners are aware of the love they receive from animals, to give that love back to them (animals) until they die in their homes," said priest Father Jesus Gonzalez.

January 17 marks the anniversary of the death of Saint Anthony the Abbott, a fourth-century Christian who gave his inheritance to the poor and led a monastic life in the desert with only animals for company.

The old-age Catholic tradition was brought to Mexico during Spanish colonial rule by Franciscan monks in the 1500s and has been heartily embraced by animal lovers in Mexico City's southern borough of Xochimilco since due to the prominence of farmhouses in the area.

"They are part of the family and it is their day. The day that they can also come and be blessed, this is the reason why we came," said dog owner Alberto Flores.

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