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Dozens gather for blessing of animals

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The Feast of St Francis last Sunday drew dogs and cats of almost every imaginable description, along with their human companions, to St. James Roman Catholic Church in Seaford for the traditional annual blessing of the animals.

“We were lucky this year that we could hold it on the actual [Oct. 4] feast day,” said the Rev. John Derasmo, St. James’ pastor.

“People who aren’t pet people don’t get it,” Derasmo said. “When we refer to them as our children, they look at us strangely,” he added, drawing a chuckle from the assembly. “But especially now, during this pandemic, I think all of us have become more aware than ever of how important they are to us, and how much the contribute to our lives.”

From the sisters Zarillo — Carolyn, Laura and Therese —  with their “children,” T.J., Leonardo and Lexi; to Leslie Birne’s Persian rescue cat, Blue, animals and their companions from all over the South Shore came for the blessing.

Many of the animals, including Blue, were rescues, underscoring the importance of animal adoption — especially during the ongoing crisis.

Derasmo emphasized that the blessing was not only for those animals present at the ceremony. “For your pets at home, or for those that have passed on, the blessing can still be received.”

Derasmo was assisted in the blessing by the Rev. Deacon Chris Daniello.