Six-month-old pug Daphne happily paused for a hug on her way to Sunday’s service.

With her owner, Dean Vogel, they were on the way to the Feast of St. Francis Blessing of the Animals at the Cathedral Church of St. John The Divine. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine was packed with people and their pets

  • On Sunday, the Cathedral held its Feast of St. Francis Blessing of the Animals

  • Church leaders say the way people love their pets can be connected to their faith

  • Dean Vogel from the Upper West Side brought his 6-month-old puppy to be blessed and for the sense of community

“Having a dog and watching them grow and seeing how they see the world it changes your perspective,” Vogel said.

They came for the blessing, and to connect with community.

“I lived in my apartment for more than 20 years. I knew two or three neighbors. You get a dog and you suddenly know everyone,” Vogel said.

Church leaders say the way people love their pets can be applied to their faith.

“It helps us to put their relationship to their animal companions in the context of God’s life and God’s love for them,” Father Patrick Malloy said.

St.Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and the environment.

Father Malloy says the connection to animals, and the environment is extremely important, especially in the wake of climate change.

“It’s very important right now as we bring our animals, companions for a blessing. We are also very mindful of the way that we treat the environment is endangering their lives,” Malloy said.

Besides pets, there were different types of animals.

The celebration hasn’t been in full swing with the larger animals in the procession since 2018. The pandemic and a fire in 2019 prevented the cathedral from having this event in years past.

“Last year we did have the service, but we did not have the great procession of the animals because the rescue farm that used to provide the animals closed during the pandemic,” Malloy said.

The event being back in full force drew people like Vogel.

This celebration and day of blessings a reminder to him about everything his dog has provided for him.

“I think having a dog makes you a better person. It really changes your perspective of the world,” Vogel said.

Besides pets, there were different types of animals one doesn’t see everyday in New York City, including a camel.

For the service, some people got their tickets for the event two months in advance.

The cathedral says 1,500 people attended with their animals.