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Priest finds homes for stray dogs one Mass at a time

Stray dog saved by Fr. Joao Paulo Araujo Gomes in Caruaru, Brazil

PadreJoao Paulo Araujo Gomes | Facebook

Cerith Gardiner - published on 09/29/23

The Brazilian clergyman is making sure that all members of his parish are cared for.

A Brazilian priest is certainly taking care of all of God’s creation when he spends his time finding homes for stray dogs.

Fr. João Paulo not only welcomes stray dogs off the streets, but also feeds them and gives them a good bath. With the dogs all cleaned up, the priest then takes them along to Mass in the hope that a member of the congregation will offer the dog a home.

The efforts of Fr João Paulo were shared on Facebook, and many people were inspired by his work. And as one commentor pointed out:

God is smiling down upon you, Father. You speak for those that cannot talk or fend for themselves.”

While it might be unusual to see the church becoming a shelter for these abandoned four-legged friends, Fr. João Paulo is emulating the beloved Catholic saint Francis of Assisi, who took care of all of God’s creatures.

In one of his Facebook posts, Fr. João Paulo writes:

Authentic and Christian love is inclusive and never exclusive. Loving animals does not mean loving human beings less, but it is the great school of love and universal empathy. Loves do not oppose each other, but complement each other. Love everyone and everything, never leave room for any form of evil and you will live the Gospel.

In fact, by sharing with his congregation his devotion to God and these poor strays, he’s encouraging the young and old at Mass to consider God’s message that we should care for others — whether it’s a fellow human being or a humble hound.

Thanks to his hard work, dozens of dogs have found new homes, and who knows? Perhaps this initiative will take off in other parishes.

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