Fortunately, Grégoire’s father is not allergic to dog hair. The parish priest Chenet-Rockencourt had to bless about sixty pets on this Sabbath day during the original event. Every year on the occasion of Saint-Antoine-de-Padou (which falls on a Monday), this city near Versailles organizes the blessing of dogs, cats or rabbits in honor of the saint protector of animals.
We hurry there, to the foot of the maple, which shades the square of the Resurrection of the Virgin with a four-legged friend in our arms. A few seconds of affection, a pastoral sign of the cross, and here is a blessed faithful companion. “My cat was attacked twice in the neighborhood. So I hope that now she will be protected, ”Veronic says very seriously about Rosalie, whom she tenderly holds in her arms.
Original holiday and meeting of residents
No wonder we meet a lot of dogs in the queue. Big ones, small ones, tiny ones, and mastiffs that you don’t expect to meet here in the chic and clean streets of Chesnya. “There was a little recoil when I arrived,” lamented Erwin, accompanied by his American headquarters. No need to call on the Lord to protect a muscular dog. But a 30-year-old man would like his companion to be accompanied by “divine goodness.” “I am alone and it is true that the animal is an incredible company, it is just an attachment. »
A little further on, Odette evokes smiles and merriment. In the arms of Charles and Henri, two small children, this red hen is about to pass under the patronage of the priest. “We come every time,” Father François-Xavier assures them. Last time we brought our two chickens and our rabbit. We come for the atmosphere and give thanks to the Lord. »
In recent years, there have been more unexpected things: a tortoise, a ladybug (lady’s beast), a guinea pig (which the blessing did not save from illness), ponies (who came on foot to the streets of Chesne) … the time for an original celebration and meeting between these residents. It also points to the time when these companions became an important remedy for loneliness. “Look, there are a lot of elderly people here,” says Father Gregoire. For everyone, animals represent love, affection. In this they deserve our attention and divine protection. Moreover, this is also done in rural areas. We bless herds of sheep, hunting teams, farm animals. »