Brazilian priest, Father Joao Paulo Arujo Gomes has always had a special place in his heart for dogs.
He allows strays to come into the church during mass on Sundays in hopes that some of his parishioners adopt the little guys. The strays are allowed anywhere in the church on Sundays at the Paróquia de Sant’Ana Gravatá in Gravatá, Brazil. Mass is celebrated with the dogs roaming around, sometimes the dogs will lay down in the aisles, other times the dogs hand out in the front by the altar.
“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 Gomes said on his Facebook page.
Father Gomes is known for his soft-spot for dogs.
He has been doing this for quite some time. He first got the idea when someone bought cookies to the church and Father left them out during mass. The cookies were snatched up quickly by the hungry parishioners. This gave Father an idea. He thought that he could bring the dogs into mass and see if any of his parishioners had a similar reaction.
His plan was a success and he found homes for 96 dogs in only 6 months.
In addition to this, Father Gomes fosters many dogs in the rectory where he lives. He provides all these dogs with shelter, food and water. If it is required, he will also provide his foster dogs with medical attention.
His idea worked! The number of stray dogs in Gravatá has dropped dramatically. He was able to find loving homes for plenty of dogs.
Father Gomes has adopted three dogs himself.
He has adopted several of the dogs he has fostered. He has three little guys running around in his rectory. He says that he thinks of them as his children
“I helped several dogs with serious health problems. Some of them I brough to the parish house and they were later adopted. Three of them stayed with me. Today, they are my childrena and sleep in my bed.”
Father Gomes is an outspoken advocate for the furry friends of his community. He finds homes for as many dogs as he can, and he provides several services for strays in his community.
“During service, we speak about dogs of the street, about how to respect and protect then. The church also helps with a castration project (to limit the number of stray dogs.) We also help dogs in emergencies such as victims of violence or health problems.”
To learn more about Father Gomes and his animal programs, visit his Facebook Page.
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