A traditional Sicilian chariot with a horse is seen in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican January 17, 2014.  Credit: Reuters A traditional Sicilian chariot with a horse is seen in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican on Friday.
Credit: Reuters

With an oink-oink here and a cluck-cluck there, animals arrived at the Vatican on Friday to receive a blessing.

The animals, including pigs, chickens, horses, cats and dogs, were at St. Peter's Square to mark the feast of St. Anthony the Abbot, the third-century holy man who is the Catholic church's patron of animals.

Farmers, ranchers and breeders brought their animals to the square for a blessing by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica. Comastri also said a Mass inside the church for the humans — the animals waited outside.

 

As well as spiritual comfort, veterinarians from the Italian animal breeders association AIA offered free checkups to pets brought to the square.

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