Compassionate Priest Helps Stray Dogs By Bringing Them To Mass So They Can Find New Homes

It’s certainly true that everybody’s welcome at the house of God—believers, non-believers, sinners, and even stray animals. In fact, in Brazil, a parish priest personally invites stray dogs to attend Sunday Masses. He does this in the hopes of finding these animals new families among the parishioners. Meet the kind-hearted Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes of Paróquia de Sant’Ana Gravatá.

Stray Dog Standing Beside Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes as He Celebrates Mass
Winfried Niederer

Father Gomes typically spends his Sundays celebrating Mass with some special guests—the forgotten dogs of Gravatá. As such, for Mass attendees, seeing a dog or two at the altar is not a surprising sight to see. The same goes for some of our furry friends who find solace in sleeping along the aisle. Indeed, these dogs will always have a special place at their parish, thanks to Father Gomes.

Stray Dog Standing at the Altar
Padre João Paulo

 

Stray Dog Standing Near the Statue of Virgin Mary
Padre João Paulo

 

“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 Araujo Gomes Celebrating Mass While a Stray Dog Sleeps on the Church's Altar Steps
Padre João Paulo

 

Black Stray Dog Sleeping along the Church's Aisle
Padre João Paulo

We all know how dogs like to act when they’re around their favorite human. And so, the priest can also be spotted petting them and giving them belly rubs from time to time. The love of Father Gomes for these animals is truly remarkable. And it goes beyond just providing them with a temporary refuge during Masses. In fact, he actually takes good care of them by feeding them and providing all their needs.

Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes Petting a Stray Dog While Preaching
Padre João Paulo

 

Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes with a Stray Dog at a Procession
Padre João Paulo

 

Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes Petting a Stray Dog
Padre João Paulo

 

Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes Petting a Stray Dog on a Leash
Padre João Paulo

 

Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes Praying over a Sick Stray Dog at a Veterinary Clinic
Padre João Paulo

There’s no doubt that Father Gomes has created a strong affinity with these dogs. Hence, it’s also not surprising to know that he has personally adopted some of them.

“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.”

Three Stray Dogs Lying on the Bed
Padre João Paulo

 

Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes Taking a Selfie with Two Stray Dogs
Padre João Paulo

 

Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes Playing with Four Stray Dogs
Padre João Paulo

 

Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes Carrying a Black Stray Dog
Padre João Paulo

 

Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes Playing with Stray Dogs
Padre João Paulo

However, the priest together with some parish volunteers can also do so much. As such, they’re also seeking the help of other parishioners in spreading the message. Thankfully, their small acts of kindness are slowly paying off. Several stray dogs have already found loving families and new homes. Likewise, the number of Gravatá’s stray dogs has also significantly reduced.

Bishop Dom Ricardo Hoepers Sitting on Bench with Five Stray Dogs
Padre João Paulo

 

Stray Dog Standing in front of a Procession
Padre João Paulo

 

Malnourished Stray Dog Eating along the Streets
Padre João Paulo

Indeed, compassion is a universal language that humanity speaks, regardless of religion. Hopefully, more institutions would follow the steps of the kind-hearted priest. That way, more animals would find themselves in actual homes, and not in streets or shelters.

Source: Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes Facebook | Instagram