Archbishop José H. Gomez will preside over the traditional blessing of the animals at historic Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon, as part of Holy Week.
The ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Plaza on Olvera Street, across from Union Station.
The centuries-old tradition of blessing animals in anticipation of Easter Sunday is for all the benefits they provide mankind. The archbishop will bless the animals and their caretakers as they pass before him in procession.
Past processions have included cats, pigs, sheep, cows, horses, mules, iguanas, birds, rats, mice, turtles, lizards, snakes, dogs and chameleons.
“The blessing of the animals is a family event, a time of fun and joy," Archbishop Gomez said in a statement. “This blessing also reminds us that Easter brings ‘new creation.’ The Resurrection of Jesus gives new life to everything, and a new beginning to everything in God’s beautiful creation – birds, animals, everything that God has made in his love.”
At 8 p.m., the archbishop will celebrate the Easter Vigil Mass at nearby Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Temple Street. The Mass will begin outside with the blessing of the fire at the Easter Fire Hearth on the Plaza.
The vigil consists of a brief candlelight service and a service of the Word. Dating from at least the mid-2nd century, this is one of the oldest Christian celebrations.
On Sunday, Archbishop Gomez will celebrate Easter Mass at 10 a.m. at the cathedral.
For more information about Holy Week and schedule of Masses, visit www.olacathedral.org.