NZ HERALD OCT. 6, 2003: ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL REJOICE AT LIFE
All creatures great and small rejoice at life
By CLAIRE TREVETT
Animals cannot sin. The vicar of St Matthew-in-the-city said so after yesterday's annual Blessing of the Animals, held to celebrate the life of St Francis of Assisi.
Rev Ian Lawton kindly overlooked gluttony (see labradors), and coveting thy neighbour's bone (see labradors).
Suspicious piles and puddles in the church aisle also failed to qualify as a sin in the eyes of the good vicar.
Certainly there were no major transgressions at the blessing.
Most animals followed the example of Bentley the bichon frise and indulged in some sloth on owners' laps or at their feet.
However, anyone hoping to hear the blessing was disappointed after several dogs took on the challenge of proving they could not sing either.
"Alleluiiaaawawawa" contributed Alex the basset hound, repeatedly.
"He's done this every year for the last five years," said owner Clive Garrish.
"He thinks he's the bass baritone."
Alex had more of an audience this year, with standing room only in the chapel.
Mr Lawton estimated a turnout of up to 1000 people and 500 animals, possibly a result of the Auckland Festival's support of the event this year.
Former Shortland Street actor Angela Bloomfield gave the Prayer of a Goldfish and Mercy Peak star Craig Parker read the Prayer of a Cat. "If you have by chance in some celestial realm, a little white mouse or a saucer of milk, I know someone who would relish them."
Auckland Festival director Simon Prast had director Oliver Driver's dog Jack to help him deliver the Prayer of the Pig.
SPCA of Auckland