Paróquia de Sant’Ana Gravatá hosts a very extraordinary event every Sunday. As the churchgoers attend Mass, the priest brings in dogs who would be acquainted with families. The hope is, someone would adopt those poor animals. A noble deed indeed!
Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes is the head of this church in Gravata, Brazil. And this amazing human being has started this endeavor where he invites dogs from all over the locality to attend Mass, and be at one with God and humanity. The doors of the Church, and apparently the priest’s heart, are always open.
And, it doesn’t need one to be an avid dog lover. One simply needs to be humane enough to understand that dogs are messengers of love and intense loyalty. You might not be a big animal lover, but love comes in many forms- simply accept it.
Image: Winfried Niederer
Father Gomes houses as many stray dogs as he can find in the rectory, where they would be safe from other dangers. But, during Mass, he brings them out so that they come into the spotlight and be visible to all. Hilariously, they are dogs so they would obviously want to be petted by humans. In fact, sometimes the Father needs to pet them in the midst of Mass! Quite an adorable sight really.
The Facebook community for the church is filled with the Father’s messages where he asks people to bring about interested friends or family who might want a dog. He believes that dogs would always be welcome in the house of God since they themselves are creations of God. Needless to say, his compassion does bring about a change.
It is a common, sad truth that dogs on the street go through a lot of hardships along the way. But Father Gomes makes it possible for them to go through life without suffering any more hardships. He feeds them, provides them with the proper medication, and helps them recover. In fact, the amazing transformation that they undergo brings about awareness about animal rights, and simple, plain love.
It is entirely due to the priest’s compassion that the amount of stray dogs on the street of Gravata has gone down. In fact, he couldn’t help but adopt a few himself.
Good deeds don’t remain unheard. A picture started getting viral on the internet of the Priest conducting Mass with a dog by his side. There was an outpour of excitement, admiration, and adulation for the priest, whom people believed to be one they could take inspiration from. Some even called him a hero, which we think he truly is.
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Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that dogs have barged a Mass. On the Pet Blessings day of this year, a dog crashed the party. Well, considering the event, we can simply attest to the dog’s devotion towards St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.
Image credits: Padre Joao Paulo.