Following a time-honored tradition, The priests of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church will bless the animals at an outdoor prayer service at 6 p.m. tonight, Thursday.

It is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, environmentalists, merchants, Catholic Action and Italy. But St. Francis is commonly associated with the blessing of animals.

The prayer service will take place on the lawn in front of the church, 5100 E. Broadway. Organizers said leashes are required for dogs, and small animals should be in pet carriers.

For more information, call (562) 438-3826 or go to www.stbartholomewcclb.org.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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