Animal blessings mark St. Francis Feast Day at Mount Prospect church

  • Natalia Chacia, 11, of Mount Prospect was happy to get her guinea pig, Steve, blessed Monday by the Rev. James Presta, pastor at St. Emily Church, as part of Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi.

    Natalia Chacia, 11, of Mount Prospect was happy to get her guinea pig, Steve, blessed Monday by the Rev. James Presta, pastor at St. Emily Church, as part of Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Marci Watts holds Button as the Rev. James Presta, pastor at St. Emily Catholic Church in Mount Prospect, shares a blessing Monday for the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi.

    Marci Watts holds Button as the Rev. James Presta, pastor at St. Emily Catholic Church in Mount Prospect, shares a blessing Monday for the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • The Rev. James Presta, pastor at St. Emily Church in Mount Prospect, along with the Rev. Hank Lyon blessed about 30 animals to celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi on Monday.

    The Rev. James Presta, pastor at St. Emily Church in Mount Prospect, along with the Rev. Hank Lyon blessed about 30 animals to celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi on Monday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Marci Watts holds Button as the Rev. James Presta, pastor at St. Emily Church in Mount Prospect, shares a blessing as part of Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi on Monday.

    Marci Watts holds Button as the Rev. James Presta, pastor at St. Emily Church in Mount Prospect, shares a blessing as part of Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi on Monday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/5/2021 6:12 AM

All the characters were in their places Monday, dogs to the right, cats to the left, and right smack in the middle was Steve the guinea pig with owner Natalia Chacia, 11, giving thanks that her favorite pet is now protected from harm.

The Rev. James Presta of St. Emily Catholic Church was sprinkling holy water near and far, as nearly 30 people and their four-legged companions visited the Mount Prospect parish for the annual Blessing of the Animals.

 

The event has been held at parishes across the suburbs and Chicago in recent days to celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment.

Marci Watts held her dog, Button, at the blessing and through tears described her pet as a miracle.

"About a month ago, she got really sick. and I took her to the veterinarian in Buffalo Grove. where the vets told me basically to say goodbye," she said. "But after a blood transfusion, and I was praying to the Lord for a sign to let her go or keep her because she was suffering but after the transfusion, two hours later she sat up and licked the vet."

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