Pooches get blessed at Marine Park church

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Bless them all!: Pets line up to get blessed at St. Columba on Oct. 7.
Pals: Barbara Ryan’s dog Sadie makes friends with Dianne Coluccio’s pooch Mitzi.
Bound for doggie heaven: Barbara Ryan with Sadie.

Bark the herald angels sing!

Folks and their furry friends gathered outside St. Columba Church for the annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony on Oct. 7 to commemorate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. And this canine-crowded communion was really something to bark about — dogs are precious gifts from above, and they deserve blessings too, said Marine Parker Dianne Coluccio, who brought her 4-month-old terrier-mix pup Mitzi and 3-year-old yellow lab mix named Carter.

“ ‘God’ spelled backwards is ‘dog.’ Dog is God’s best friend — of course he has to get them blessed,” said Coluccio, who attends the Kimball Street parish. “They had a great time.”

Little Mitzi kept wagging her tail about a new friend she made, 7-year-old Sadie, who was brought to the church in search of healing for her ailments, said her owner, Marine Parker Barbara Ryan.

“The pets could use a blessing to help them, just like people,” said Ryan. “To help lives, so she’ll be healthy, she has some health issues.”

One local family’s newly adopted pooch — 1-and-a-half-year-old Sir Handsome George Clooney, who just goes by Clooney — was officially welcomed into the family and the faith by Deacon Fred Ritchie, who led the prayer service, said the owner of the glamorously named mixed Australian cattle dog, Teba Besada.

“Well we attend church regularly and we want to give him as much.We want to integrate our Catholic faith into all of our children and that includes the newest member of our family,” said Besada, who lives in Marine Park. “He loved it, he made friends with the deacon very quickly.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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