Special day for blessing pets
By Joseph Toone
In honor of St. Anthony the Abbot, special animal blessings are held throughout San Miguel on the morning of January 17.
The blessing is for pets and farm animals of every shape and kind, from cats, dogs, birds and turtles, to hens, rabbits, ducks, and burros which are brought to the churches to be blessed by the priest. This moving ceremony is believed to keep evil spirits away from the home and land. The concept is tied to the pre-Christian custom of celebrating animal fertility and regeneration of the fields between the winter solstice and summer equinox
St. Anthony Abbot was a hermit and early monk who lived in seclusion in Egypt’s desert. Animals were his only companions. This St. Anthony is not to be confused with the much later St. Anthony of Padua for whom the colonia San Antonio is named and Día de Los Locos in which he is celebrated and honored.
Locations vary but the blessings are most commonly held at the Parroquia, the Oratorio, San Antonio Church and San Juan de Dios. Start the New Year with a very blessed pet in your home!