Animal lovers gathered Wednesday evening at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica to have their pets blessed.

“As we come to bless all of our animals, all of our pets, we ask all mighty God to watch over them and protect them,” said Monsignor Jerry McGrath addressing the crowd.

The event is held every year on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi to commemorate the life of the patron saint of animals and the environment. In the modern day, this time is used for people who would like for their pets to be blessed. Beatrice Lopez who missed the event last year says that the animals need to be blessed just like their owners.

“I just feel that they need to be blessed also,” said Lopez. “Not just mine but everybody's. They are a part of your life. Just like our children. I feel like these are my children and they give you unconditional love.”

Monsignor Jerry McGrath says the evening is special to the people that attend.

“Oh I find the children love it,” said Msgr. McGrath. “The people love it. People love their pets.”

Since Monsignor McGrath has been holding this event for 21 years, he has been asked to bless a variety of animals.

“There are some very exotic animals,” said Msgr. McGrath. “I've had snakes. I've had snails. All types of different animals.”

Father McGrath blessed a ferret, three parakeets, and four chickens on Wednesday. He also stated that while he was studying in the Middle East, he was asked to bless a camel.