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Blessing of the animals brings pets, photos and toys together with Diocese of Wilmington families: Photo Gallery

Maggie Edgar watches from the perch in her stroller as mom, Lauren, brother, Shane, and Stella Blohm hang out with Jax at St. Elizabeth.

Students at schools around the Diocese of Wilmington marked the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi by bringing their pets – or a reasonable facsimile thereof – to blessings of the animals.

From St. Elizabeth School in Wilmington to Most Blessed Sacrament School in Ocean Pines, Md., there were four-legged creatures on leashes or in cages. Some youngsters at Immaculate Conception School in Elkton, Md., brought stuffed animals to stand in for the real thing, and at St. Peter the Apostle School in New Castle, Deacon Chris Moran blessed as many photos as he did actual animals.

“You blessed us with living creatures. We especially thank you for bringing our pets,” Deacon Moran said.

Deacon Moran said he enjoys hanging out with the students and their pets each October. “Short of baptisms or weddings, this is my favorite thing to do.”

Among the pets at St. Peter’s were Sunny, a hamster belonging to fifth-grader Kaitlyn Shontz, and Isis and Sasha, two dogs who live with seventh-grader Isabella Susi. Isabella said Isis, a 13-year-old American eskimo, “needed to be blessed to get her eye better,” while 3-year-old German shepherd Sasha was enjoying the canine company.