Fortunately, Father Grégoire is not allergic to dog hair. The parish priest of Chesnay-Rocquencourt had to bless around sixty pets this Saturday afternoon during an original event. Every year on the occasion of Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue (which falls on Monday), this town near Versailles organizes a blessing of dogs, cats or rabbits, in a nod to the Saint protector of animals.
We hurry there at the foot of the maple tree which shades the square of Our Lady of the Resurrection, her four-legged friend in her arms. A few seconds of caressing, the pastor’s sign of the cross and here is the blessed faithful companion. “My cat has been attacked twice in the neighborhood. So I hope she will now be protected, ”says Véronique very seriously about Rosalie, whom she affectionately holds in her arms.
An original festival and a meeting between inhabitants
Unsurprisingly, we meet a lot of dogs in the queue. Big ones, small ones, tiny ones and a mastiff that you didn’t expect to come across here, in the chic and clean streets of Chesnay. “When I arrived, there was a small movement of recoil”, laments Erwin accompanied by his American staff. No need to call on the Lord to protect the muscular dog. But the 30-year-old would like “divine goodness” to accompany his companion. “I’m alone and it’s true that an animal is incredible company, it’s just affection. »
A little further on, Odette attracts smiles and arouses amusement. In the arms of Charles and Henri, two young children, this red hen is about to pass under the protective hand of the priest. “We come every time, assures their father François-Xavier. The previous time, we had brought our two chickens and our rabbit. We come for the atmosphere and to thank the Lord. »
There have been more unexpected things in recent years: a tortoise, a ladybird (God’s beast), a guinea pig (whom the blessing did not save from illness), ponies (who arrived on foot in the streets of Chesnay)… It is each time the occasion of an original celebration and a meeting between these inhabitants. It is also indicative of a time when these companions became essential remedies for loneliness. “Look, there are a lot of elderly people, testifies Father Grégoire. For everyone, animals represent love, affection. In this, they deserve our attention and divine protection. Moreover, this is also done in the countryside. We bless the flocks of sheep, the hunting teams, the farm animals. »