Loyola hosts Blessing of the Animals


Gabrielle Korein

Three dogs sit inside of a stroller on Oct. 4 at the Blessing of the Animals. This event took place on the front lawn of Marquette Hall.

Macie Batson, Senior Staff Writer


For the first time since the 1990s, Loyola revived the university’s traditions of gathering the community’s pets for a blessing.

“Blessing of the Animals” took place Tuesday, Oct. 4 on the lawn of Marquette Hall. 

Open to the Loyola community and the public, people were able to bring their pets and service animals to participate in a group blessing hosted by The Rev. Justin Daffron, S.J., Loyola’s interim president.

The animal blessing was in honor of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology and animals, according to Laurie Leiva, associate vice president for alumni engagement.

The Loyola Alumni Association sponsored the gathering in the intention of bringing the Loyola community and their pets together.

With the exception of venomous animals, all pets were welcome at the blessing, and the alumni association provided a pet station with complimentary water and waste bags. 

Lisa Collins, assistant professor of mass communication, attended the blessing with her dog, Oliver and was surprised to see so many different animals.

“It was so nice to see a different side of the Loyola community,” she said. “Most of the pets were dogs, but I saw four cats and one bearded dragon!” 

Daffron presided over the group and blessed the animals that participated. He said at the event that he was grateful to be able to celebrate St. Francis’ feast. Daffron was joined by his pet, Parleaux, who he trained as a therapy dog for students on campus.

“It was a really joyful gathering,” he said, “Parleaux was super happy to welcome so many other animals to campus.”