People who regularly attend Sunday church services at Paróquia de Sant’Ana Gravatá often meet homeless dogs during the mass. This is because Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes, head of the parish, invites these dogs to be part of the service. His reason for doing this? To help the dogs find forever homes.
A safe space for the strays
Father João Paulo lets these homeless dogs live in his rectory to protect them from danger. However, he knows that what these dogs want more than anything, is to be part of a loving family. To help them with this, he brings the dogs with him to Sunday mass so people can see them.
He makes sure that the dogs join him at the altar – an honorable place for churchgoers. During the ceremony, the dogs show how loyal they are to the priest. They love being the center of attention because they receive gentle pats on the head and belly rubs from the churchgoers. Some of these are blessed with new families once the mass is over.
When asked why he lets the strays inside the church, Father João Paulo told everyone that the church is God’s house, and the dogs are part of His creation. For him, the dogs must have a place where they can drink, eat, and sleep. These homeless dogs have been through so much; they deserve to stay in a place where they can feel protected.
Welcome to the family
The priest involved the community by encouraging everyone to invite people who are interested in adopting dogs. Thanks to his efforts, the number of homeless dogs in Gravata had a substantial decrease. He has shown everyone that love has the power to heal wounds no matter how deep they may be.
Credits to PadreJoao Paulo Araujo Gomes