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Bronxville Church Goes to the Dogs, Cats

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Christ Church in Bronxville hosted kitties and doggies at church this Sunday to celebrate the feast of St. Francis.

Rev. Michael Bird said he would not mind hearing a bark or two during his Sunday sermon.

"Today is the day that we put on our senses of humor, forego the standing and sitting during the service and say that it is okay if you have to move your seat a couple of times," Bird told the packed church.

For the most part, the pets had their Sunday church manners on as Bird spoke about them.

"On this day, we remember all the good things animals do for us and we stop and we are grateful," he said.

After singing the hymn, "All Creatures Great and Small,” joined by some four legged voices, Bird blessed each animal by name as their two-legged families looked on.

Gabbi Thomas, 11, a Marema Sheepdog, came with Owen, Hank, Martha and May Thomas.

Dad, Owen, said that Gabbi lived in China for the last three years with the Thomas family, who only recently returned to Bronxville.

"She's a great part of our family," Owen said. "We brought her to China and back because we could not be without her.

Wrapped snugly in Emma Mahoney's arms was Molly the cat who was quiet and well-behaved among the dogs.

"I think she is a little nervous," Mahoney said. "But she is ok."

St. Francis of Assisi was an Italian monk, born around 1181. Born into wealth and privilege, Francis lived a good life until he returned from war around 1204. When he came back, he became a Catholic friar and preacher.

Many Catholics believe Francis was traveling when he came upon a place in the road where birds filled nearby trees. Francis called to the birds, who came to him and were quiet as he prayed aloud to them. Francis wrote a poem praising God for all creatures.

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