FINE and sunny weather was the order for the day as dozens of pet owners headed for the hamlet of La Mata to celebrate the blessing of the animals on the feast of San Antón Abad in La Mata.
San Anton was a Christian monk who lived in Egypt between 251 and 356, living to the age of 105 years.
He left his property to lead a hermit’s life, growing in holiness and becoming the model for Christians. It is also said that on one occasion he was approached by a hog with their piglets, who were blind.
Antonio cured the blindness of the animals and the family then defended him from any wild animal that came close, making him a saint in the process, and becoming the protector of animals, which is celebrated on 17 January.
For the first time, the newly opened Embarcadero Plaza de La Mata, was chosen for Sunday Mass, celebrated by the archpriest of Torrevieja and pastor of Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Torrelamata, with Father George, a German priest, who is responsible for the German community of this parish.
Assisting in the celebrations were the Choir “Rociera Alba” who accompanied the celebration through their singing of the Eucharist, and the subsequent blessing of all animals brought by their owners, who roamed the plaza.
Unfortunately, proceedings started about 15-minutes late and with the Mass lasting more than half an hour before the first animals were blessed, more than dozen owners had left the area as their pets started to become impatient after sitting around for almost an hour!
A second celebration was held on Tuesday, January 17, at the gates of the Temple of the Immaculate Conception, following a few words from Padre Rocamora, with the blessing of the animals.
This traditional gathering started at the Vista Alegre Exhibition Centre, followed by a very short pilgrimage along Calle Conception and through Constitution Square.