Home | National | Pigs, chickens, horses and even two terrapins queue up to be blessed to mark the patron saint of animals Saint Anthony's Day

Pigs, chickens, horses and even two terrapins queue up to be blessed to mark the patron saint of animals Saint Anthony's Day

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  • Pet owners congregate at churches to celebrate patron saint of animals
  • Animals were taken to the Vatican to mark feast of St Anthony the Abbot

By Tom Gardner

PUBLISHED: 11:05 EST, 17 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:51 EST, 17 January 2014

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This brings an entirely new meaning to welcoming the flock of God.

Pets were brought to churches across Europe today to received a special blessing to celebrate the patron saint of animals.

Pigs, chickens, horses, cats, dogs and even two terrapins headed to services to be anointed by priests.

All creatures great and small: A priest peers into the cage while blessing a mouse outside Madrid's San Anton Church today

All creatures great and small: A priest peers into the cage while blessing a mouse outside Madrid's San Anton Church today

A man holds his dog while waiting to be anointed outside the Saint Anton church in Madrid Friday
Blessed: A man has his Terrapins anointed by a priest outside the Saint Anton church in Madrid Friday

Blessed: A man holds hit pet dog, left, while they wait to be anointed by a priest while another owner clasps two of his Terrapins as he waits for a blessing outside the Saint Anton church in Madrid today

Some of the pets brought along to Saint Anton church in Madrid to celebrate the patron saint of animal's

Some of the pets brought along to Saint Anton church in Madrid to celebrate the patron saint of animal's

The Vatican in Rome was filled as an array of animals queued in St Peter's Square to mark the feast of St. Anthony the Abbot, the third-century holy man who is the Catholic Church's patron of animals - a title shared with St Francis of Assisi.

Farmers, ranchers and breeders brought their animals to the square for a blessing by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica.

Comastri also said a Mass inside the church for the humans - the animals waited outside.

Anointed: A cat is blessed by a priest at Saint Anton's Church in Madrid, Spain, today

Anointed: A cat is blessed by a priest at Saint Anton's Church in Madrid, Spain, today

One of the dogs which had been brought to Madrid's San Anton Church get holy water dipped on its head on the day of San Anton, Spain's patron saint of animals

One of the dogs which had been brought to Madrid's San Anton Church get holy water dipped on its head on the day of San Anton, Spain's patron saint of animals

As well as the spiritual comfort, veterinarians from the Italian animal breeders association AIA offered free check-ups to pets brought to the square.

More pets were anointed outside the Saint Anton church in Madrid today.

Thousands of people all over Spain bring their pets to churches to be blessed on this day every year.

A dog is blessed by a priest at Saint Anton's Church in Madrid, Spain, today, during the celebration of Saint Anton Patron Day

A dog is blessed by a priest at Saint Anton's Church in Madrid, Spain, today, during the celebration of Saint Anton Patron Day

Centre of attention: A cat sits on a pew as worshipers attend a mass in the Saint Anton church in Madrid, today

Centre of attention: A cat sits on a pew as worshipers attend a mass in the Saint Anton church in Madrid, today

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