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Priest Brings Stray Dogs To Sunday Mass So People Can Adopt Them

stray dog priest

We are human beings that are supposed to know better and feel compassion for another living being, yet it seems to me like the majority of people just don’t.

Shelters and animal welfare organizations are constantly popping up everywhere around us, but the number of stray dogs around the world is ever-growing. The truth is, our world is facing a global stray dog population crisis like never before and reality is truly terrifying.

This is why it always fills my heart to discover people who work hard to help animals in need. These beautiful souls prove us that there is something humane and genuine in humans after all and that this world can be a better place – only if we give our best to make it one…

Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes is one of these people. He is the head of the parish of Santana in the city of Gravatá in Brazil and he is the biggest hero that I’ve ever heard of.


Well, this kind priest is unlike anyone else you’ve met. He invites lost, forgotten dogs from the streets to his Sunday masses and helps these poor souls find their loving homes. The doors of his church and his heart are wide open for dogs who need help.

So, every Sunday, before the service starts, the priest makes sure that his furry friends are right there in front of the altar,  in the center of the church, where every person can see them. Pups, being pups often lay beside the priest, cuddle and join him in the ceremony.

“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 wrote on Facebook. 

His mission is to enlarge the church’s community by encouraging the people who come for his services to open their hearts and adopt some of these beautiful souls who desperately need a home. And so far, his compassionate actions have made a big change in the city of Gravatá.

Many of these poor souls that wander the streets are often lost, abandoned and neglected pups. All they need is attention and a little bit of affection. What saddens me the most is that not everyone out there is a human enough to give these souls a home. Luckily for them, this city has João, who has done and is still doing everything that he can to help these poor creatures.

Thanks to him, the number of abandoned, stray dogs in Gravatá has decreased substantially. Many of these poor pups have already found their forever homes. And what’s even more heart-warming, after meeting so many of these beautiful creatures in person, João couldn’t resist to adopt a few of them himself.

“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,” the Father said in an interview.

The priest’s heartfelt actions didn’t go unnoticed on social media. In fact, the photo of him conducting a mass with a few pups around him went viral on Facebook and created a huge wave of positive comments from all around the world. These wonderful transformations and recoveries have truly warmed everyone’s heart and showed just how much of a difference can a small act of kindness do to change this cruel world of ours.

What’s even more interesting is that this is not the first time dogs and other animals appear in churches. This summer a dog unexpectedly crashed a church service (also in Brazil). Also let’s not forget about the annual pet blessings during the St. Francis Day in honor of the Patron Saint of Animals, Saint Francis of Assisi. All in all,  it seems that these beautiful creatures really enjoy spending more time in sacred places.

  Image credits: Padre João Paulo

Stephanie Reeds