Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Nicked from MadPriest - who Nicked it from Elsewhere!

Our Lady of the Holy Cross Catholic Church got a new priest last summer, the Rev. Don Buhr. With him came Elija, a Labrador and border collie mix, who attends every Mass that Buhr celebrates.

“A dog in church — I know it doesn’t sound right and doesn’t seem right,” Buhr said. “But this dog is a gift from God.”

When Buhr came to the church, he asked the parishioners if it would be all right if Elijah attended Mass. He said he didn’t want anyone’s prayers to be disturbed. So far, he said, no one has complained.

Buhr’s last assignment was at a country parish where Elijah was allowed to roam the fields and woods. The dog has made a smooth transition to the inner city. He is the terror of squirrels and other animals that trespass on the parish grounds. Inside the church, however, Elijah is as gentle as a lamb. During Mass, he tends to quietly meander. He may stroll onto the altar to sit beside Buhr or server Brittany Pfaffenback, 16. Elijah occasionally wanders down the aisle and sticks his nose into the pews, seeking affection. In the summer, he prefers lounging on the cool terrazzo tiles of the high altar. On a recent cold Sunday, he favored a spot beside a radiator to the side of the altar. When the crowd lined up to receive Communion, he took up his regular post in front of the first pew on the left. From there, he watched as Buhr distributed the Holy Eucharist.

“He loves that little space and plants himself there every Communion,” said a parish deacon, Gerry Quinn, 63, of Affton. “We do worry sometimes that someone will trip over him, but we’ve all adjusted fine.”

At the end of Mass, Elijah trotted ahead of the servers, deacons and priest as they filed down the main aisle.

At Our Lady of the Holy Cross, the congregation has embraced Elijah, said a longtime member, Charlotte Flowers.

“We have a true church dog,” said Flowers, 68. “He’s a joy and so well-behaved. The children especially love him. And he never barks in church.”

Well done, the people of Our Lady of the Holy Cross for realising that Elijah is a blessing and not an inconvenience. I would not be surprised if their congregation grows because of this gentle (except when it comes to critters) dog of God.


MadPriest said...

I can see you doing this.

Fr Kenny said...

I have a whole trinity of dogs!