By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief
Does your pet wear a St. Francis medal?
Tilly, our beloved 4-year-old basset hound, has one on her harness after Patty and I took her to the Blessing of the Animals.
It was Sunday outside St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in downtown Gulfport, where Tilly was among 16 people and 20 pets in attendance.
Tilly made friends with everyone and got to meet Antonio Banderas. He’s a cat who stayed in his crate and is not to be confused with Benicio del Toro.
The blessing was held three days before the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, who was born in the 12th century and is the Catholic Church’s patron saint of animals and the environment.
Father Jacob Matthew, a Franciscan priest, led the ceremony.
Tilly and the other pets received a St. Francis medal, a prayer card and a blessing. Kristin’s pets, Stella and Lionel, who live in Madisonville, Louisiana, and stayed home Sunday, will be given St. Francis medals from Patty through Father Jacob the next time we visit Kristin’s home.
Tilly was sprinkled with holy water twice and she got a drop or two on her tongue. It was refreshing because it was a hot afternoon.
I’ve always been a fan of St. Francis, so much so that Francis is my Confirmation name.
Patty is also a fan and now Tilly is, too.