At the parish of Sant’Ana in the city of Gravatá, Brazil, homeless dogs attend church services every Sunday. Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes, head of the parish, is the man behind this unusual scene.
Father João Paulo obviously takes the teaching of Christ to heart by inviting the stray and forgotten dogs to Sunday Mass with the aim of finding families for the dogs to go home with.
For unconditional love, loyalty, fun and laughter, dogs provide it all without question. Regardless of your faith or beliefs, all you need is kindness and compassion to make the world a better place.
Father João Paulo is houses stray dogs at the rectory to keep them off the streets. Every Sunday, he takes them to Mass where they take center stage in a spot where everyone can see them, right in front of the altar. Of course, dogs being dogs, they are always on the lookout for some petting and some even join Father João Paulo at the altar for belly rubs and he always obliges.
“They will always be able to enter, sleep, eat, drink their water and find shelter and protection, for this house is of God and they are of God,” Father João Paulo wrote on Facebook. He involves the church’s community by encouraging them to invite people interested in bringing home a new family member. His kind and compassionate actions raise awareness of the plight of the animals, helping to create change in Gravatá.
Rescued dogs have often been neglected and in desperate need of help and attention which is why this caring priest not only gives affection and temporary homes to the animals, he also feeds and provides them with all medical treatment necessary. The remarkable recoveries is a testament to the power of love and compassion.
Thanks to Father João Paulo the number of abandoned dogs on the streets of Gravatá has been reduced significantly. Dozens of stray dogs have found loving homes and the priest adopt some himself.
“I helped several dogs with serious health problems. Some of them I brought to the parish house and they were later adopted. Three of them stayed with me. Today, they are my children and sleep in my bed,” he said.
A photo of Father João Paulo with a dog by his side during mass went viral on Facebook recently and caused a flood of positive comments. Thousands praised the priest’s social action and inspired many to follow his example. One calling him ‘a true hero for helping those who don’t have a voice of their own’.
Image credits: Padre João Paulo
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