The Blessing of the Animals

One of the ways you find out what’s going on (or has gone on), in Venice, is to keep an eye open for posters around the city.

Protest re: large cruise ships ... I was there


In Castello, I noticed a poster on the door of the Chiesa San Francesco di Paola, announcing a Benediction Mass for animals at 11:30 on 15 January.

It was a joy to be present. There were about 30 dogs, one cat and a photo of a parrot. The atmosphere was very relaxed. I hadn’t taken my larger camera as I thought it would be too obtrusive, but, boy, was I wrong! People wandered everywhere, taking photos as the mass progressed. The priest took it all in stride, including the loud eruption of barks when the solitary cat entered, safe in her basket.

Red is in for dogs, too. So many of the dogs wore cozy coats.

The innocent cause of an uproar

He was a lovely old bloke, a bit unsteady on his paws.

 I had tucked Licorice, the Travelling Koala into my shoulder bag. He was not only blessed, but one dog gave him a big lick, while another wanted to eat him. Licorice likes most things about Venice!




Filed under Venice

26 responses to “The Blessing of the Animals

  1. OK, Steven, I don’t really want to see you skinned alive, so we’ll leave the current arrangements in place: I visit as often as I can and stay as long as I can, and report as much as I can.

    Maybe that odd woman will go on leave and J can sneak in while she’s not around?


  2. I’d gladly get you that permanent residence but you don’t even want to know the trouble we’ve run into getting J her carta d’identita for Venice. We have everything else (long-term visa etc) and it should by far be the easiest of all the documents–but there’s a certain woman in a certain office who’s playing very odd and very perverse games for what reason I don’t know. So, alas, I’m not feeling too confident these days about my pull with the authorities here. Probably a good thing, so I can avoid that hubris issue which we know can lead to such unpleasant endings.


  3. Kay

    This is such a great idea. that old dog looks so much like the ol’gentleman, Booka!!! makes me sad


  4. Caroline

    Lots of interesting stuiff, Yvonne, thanks ! Well done for attending the protest against large cruise ships – they are so out of proportion to the city, and have to be harming it don’t they ? We used to stay at La Calcina on the Zattere; we couldn’t believe our eyes the first time the window was completely filled with a section of what appeated to be an enormous block of flats passing by, and we could feel the building shaking. Not to mention the horrible black smoke being pumped out. Having to bite our tongues ahead of the PILs visiting us that way in late June…


    • You’ve got so much to look forward to, when you make your move, Caroline.

      That’s scary, the building shaking as the monsters went by in the Giudecca Canal. I sure hope something is done about this whole issue, but, knowing politics, we’re no doubt whistling in the wind.

      Brr, sure was chilly today!


      • Caroline

        I know – we are very lucky. Still sunny there, though ? V. grey here.

        Perhaps the recent wreck will change some minds on the cruise ships issue ? Imagine if one of those ran aground and fell on part of Venice =:-O


  5. Yvonne,
    You can’t leave in Feb! I count on you now to attend all those things I hope to attend but don’t manage to make it to! As well as take photos of all the things I wish I would have seen or hope I will see in person.


    • OK, Steven, here’s the deal. You do all the hard work to get me the permission for permanent residence here, and I’ll continue to have fun and report on stuff for you. That sounds fair to me.


  6. Wendy Robinson

    Yvonne your blog is my daily fix. Every morning I walk my dog then take my coffee into the conservatory and sit down to enjoy. Today’s offering was so lovely I read it again this evening!
    We will be staying on Guidecca for Redentore so particularly enjoyed your visit there.
    Many thanks


    • Well, what a nice thing to say, Wendy. It was such a lovely experience! Your dog would have enjoyed it!

      Giudecca for the Redentore festa should be pretty close to perfect.


  7. Joanne Hoefer

    It is done here as well however ours ends up beside the dogs and cats, having sheep , milk cows and horses so now is held outside the church, it is always a lovely day for both owners and animals, treats for the house pets, carrots for our larger friends.


  8. Usually, he lies on the pillows, staring at the ceiling. So his big day out was spent stuffed in to a shoulder bag, then nearly being devoured by a Venetian dog. (And, I am not making that up.) don’t know whether ‘great’ would come into his description of his life. 🙂


  9. Jo

    That’s what I love about Venice -f the most dog friendly city in the world!! True civilisation. I love your blog – I have just discovered it and I am already addicted!!


  10. Licorice leads a great life by all reports.


  11. Today I spent a lot of time wandering through the hospital grounds, and saw many, many cats there.


  12. Michelle

    Ah, how wonderful!


  13. Andrew

    We had a similar service last Autumn. Unfortunately our vicar forgot he had organised this and also booked a baptism at the same time. Chaos! Barking dogs and crying babies. Laugh a minute at All Saints.


  14. Have a look at Fausto’s blog (Alloggi Barbaria). He got some excellent photos. I’d love to see Jess in her wee red coat.


  15. julie

    Aww that is really lovely … I know mum and I would love to take our Jess to that service … she has a red coat too, so she is in vogue … wait till I tell her xx


  16. Hi, Jan and Kathleen. It was such a happy occasion!


  17. Kathleen

    How lovely, Yvonne!!


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