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Archbishop to lead Blessing of Animals and celebrate Easter vigil Mass

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez will preside over the annual Blessing of the Animals in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon in anticipation of Easter vigil Mass.

The ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. in the plaza on Olvera Street. The archbishop will bless animals — which in the past have included dogs, cats, sheep, cows, horses, birds and pigs — and their owners as they pass before him.

Over the years, the blessing has become a highly coveted photo op for pet-owning shutterbugs.

The event, organized by the Olvera Street Merchants Assn., has taken place every year in the Olvera Street plaza since 1930. The practice dates to the fourth century, when saints began to bless animals for the services they provide to humans.

An Easter vigil Mass will follow at 8 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St. The mass will be streamed live on Facebook.

Father David Gallardo, pastor of the Cathedral, will celebrate Easter Sunday Mass at 10 a.m. Archbishop Gomez will preside over a special Spanish-language service scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday.

“Easter is a great day filled with hope and joy for us,” the Archbishop said in a statement. “Christ is risen and we know we will rise with him! Easter tells us that God’s love is stronger than death.”

For more information about Holy Week and a schedule of Masses at the cathedral, visit www.olacathedral.org.

carlos.lozano@latimes.com

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