Photo Gallery: Pets Blessed at St. Helena's

Louie, the one-eye hound, "teaches" the wonders of the Trinity as only a dog can.

Louie, the hound dog, is 13. He has one eye, has survived cancer, and contemplates retirement every Sunday. That did not stop him from delivering a light-hearted sermon Sunday about the Holy Trinity as St. Helena's Episcopal Church in Burr Ridge held its twice-a-year pet blessing.

He, of course, had a lot of help from his dad, the Rev. Robert Wyatt. "When Louie preaches, people find it much more interesting. People like his sermons," Rev. Wyatt said. "Nobody understands the Trinity better than a dog."

The pet blessing isn't just for dogs.

"Pets are God's creatures, not just animals to us," said Chris DiBartelo, a Burr Ridge native. "We love them like our families." DiBartelo owns a dog named Sammi, who is going blind. "I was in denial at first. It was my husband who was saying that she isn't seeing right. Our vet discovered it by waving a napkin in front of her eyes and she did not follow it." She was then sent to a specialist, who discovered that she has degeneration in her eye.

She has attended every blessing since joining the church 4 1/2 years ago. Blessings are held each spring and in October for the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals.

The ceremony also was light-hearted. "People often say my pet needs an exorcism," said Rev. Wyatt. He offered a "light exorcism" along with the pet blessing. The congregation went up and offered their pets one by one to receive Wyatt's blessing from God.

Louie has been preaching the sermon for a while. "This time might be his last time," said Rev. Wyatt.

DiBartelo summed it up: "Everyone loves it when Louie preaches. He does a good job. Every blessing he wonders if it will be his last. This time Bob [Rev. Wyatt] thinks it might be. It'll be sad if it is."


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