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Photos from the Blessing of the Animals: Dogs, Snakes, Cows & One Wild Horse

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Last Saturday at the annual Blessing of the Animals hundreds of pet and animal owners journeyed to Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles where Cardinal Roger M. Mahony presided over the ceremony steeped in tradition.

The centuries-old ceremony, now in its 79th year, dates back to the fourth century when San Antonio de Abad was recognized as the Patron Saint of the Animal Kingdom. In those days, the people would take their animals to the priest to receive a blessing and ask for fertility and health. It is held in grateful recognition of the tremendous services given to the human race by animals.

LAist Co-Editor Lindsay William-Ross contributed to this post