Several pet owners helped their pets embrace their spiritual side as they brought their animals to a New York church on Sunday.
Ranging from a bearded dragon, to a horse, to baby chicks, animals gathered at Cathedral of St. John the Divine to be blessed at the annual Feast of St. Francis and Blessing of the Animals.
The point of the ceremony is to celebrate the beauty of the animal kingdom and recognize that animals are a gift from God, according to Father Patrick Malloy, who performed the blessing.
“I know that [people] love their pets and are very grateful for their pets,” Malloy told InsideEdition.com. “I see this as a way for people to acknowledge how important their pets are for them.”
Malloy said that when he performs the blessing, he prays for the pet’s relationship with its owner.
“The blessing are always really for the people, but they’re [also] for the relationship," he said. "I always, when I bless these animals, pray that they and their companions can have long lives together."
Jocelyn Smith, who came to have her dogs blessed with her family, said the event was a fun-filled family event.
“My older dog slept through most of it — they wanted to meet the other dogs,” Smith said. “My son loved it, so we were, we were happy. We came as a family. It was a great experience.”
Smith said she loved watching all of the other animals and was shocked to see snakes and even birds of prey.
Some at the event said the ceremony was reminiscent of the story of Noah’s Ark, others said they were just happy to be there.
"It’s a joyous experience to be inside the church and to also be sharing the day with everybody else who loves animals as much as we do,” Corinne Lagano said.