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Yuba City animals receive blessing
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Yuba City fourth-grader Raven Bryan wanted her bunny rabbits to convert to Catholicism.
"'Cuz then they're Catholic, like me," explained the 9-year-old student of St. Isidore's School.
Young Raven was just one of dozens of faithful students who brought their faithful pets to school on Thursday to receive blessings from the Rev. Miguel Silva.
The Blessing of the Animals is a centuries-old tradition in the Catholic Church, Silva said.
"We recognize that God created all things and he gave the human race power over animals," Silva said after blessing dozens of pets, including dogs, cats, birds and even stuffed animals. "All children, little kids love animals."
Many of the children wanted their stuffed toys sanctified, too.
Principal Julie Rojo said many students can't have pets for one reason or another, and it is always important not to leave those children out of a tradition that is loved in the church and at the school.
"They're special to the children," Rojo said of the stuffed toys. "You never know what's happening in the imagination of a child, but they look at those stuffed animals like they're their pets."
First-grader Tatum Boals brought her 2-year-old boxer, Capone, to the ceremony at the Clark Avenue school.
"He's excited and strong," Tatum said while trying to keep the capricious Capone from escaping his leash. "We want him to get blessed so he'll be healthy and safe."
The ceremony was a customary remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, who was said to love all creatures. St. Francis is said to have once faithfully and lovingly tamed a vicious wild wolf that had been terrorizing the citizens of an Italian village and made the wolf a friend to all the villagers.
The blessings coincide with the saint's traditional Oct. 4 feast day.
Eighth-grader Liam Zaniroli was grateful for an opportunity to have his five kittens blessed.
"They had some gunk in their eyes that was growing," the 13-year-old student explained.
Liam said he has brought his dogs and cats for the blessing every year for the past nine years.
"I do it so they can be holy," Liam said. "It's so they can be one with God along with me."
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.