1. Various exterior shots of the Church of Sant’Eusebio, people with their pets outside
2. People cats pets in cages inside
3. Blessing ceremony inside church
4. Cats in cages
5. Elderly women praying
6. Priest conducting ceremony
7. Poodle in woman’s arms
8. People lining up with their animals for blessing, priest walks toward them
9. Woman holding her dog near candles
10. Statue of Saint Antonio Abate – protector of animals
11. Statue of with pig
12. Dog with people during service
13. Dog on leash
14. Priest blessing hamster carried in a bike helmet
15. Close up of hamster in helmet
16. SOUNDBITE (Italian) vox-pop:
“Yeah, I bless my hamster, because I think even animals should be blessed.”
17. Cats being blessed by priest
18. Dog being blessed
19. Dog sniffing camera
20. SOUNDBITE (Italian) vox-pop:
“I come every year because the blessing is beautiful. I am not Italian but this is an Italian custom that is very beautiful.”
21. Animals being blessed
22. Children looking at animals in cages.
All creatures great, but mostly small, gathered in Rome on Sunday to be blessed before their patron saint.
All manner of cats, dogs, birds – even hamsters – lined up in the Sant’Eusebio Church in down-town Rome.
Every year Italians brings their pets to the parish priest on January 17, the day in which Saint Antonio Abate is honoured.
The Saint is widely believed to be the protector of all animals.
In the past, the blessing was fundamental to animal owners.
Farm yard beasts were highly valued in rural society, as the health of a farmer’s bank balance relied on the health of his animals.
As such, hundreds of people and their livestock would make the annual pilgrimage for the blessing.
In some rural parts of Italy, people still bring their farm animals to be blessed.
Last century, the special service was moved permanently to the Sant’Eusebio church to make traffic flow easier.
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