MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There were some unusual guests at a Sunday afternoon mass in Minneapolis.

The Basilica of Saint Mary hosted its Blessing of the Animals on Sunday. The event is held each year close to the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. He’s a patron saint of animals, nature and peace.

The church says it wanted to invite people to celebrate all of God’s creation and ask for God’s blessing on their animals.

“It is very comforting to the family. It brings the spirituality to the wholist feelings they have for their animals and their families. Caring for animals and the gifts that they give us, it’s all very spiritual and we want to include them in the benefits of spirituality,” Sarah and Scott Knight said.

In earlier times, people took their animals and food to monasteries for a special blessing around harvest time.

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