LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Catholics and other Christian denominations across Southern California are celebrating Easter this Sunday, with parishioners attending mass and a blessing of the animals.
On Saturday, Archbishop Jose Gomez began the holy weekend by conducting the blessing of the animals on Olvera Street before presiding over the first in-person baptisms at the Cathedral of the Holy Angels in downtown Los Angeles since the pandemic.
"To be here at the Cathedral and have this happen," said Lynette Luster, who was chosen as one of the eight to be baptized Saturday. "This is the Mothership. So to have archbishop Gomez and to be able to do this here, it's truly special."
Kate Chou, who attended the historic vigil, said it felt good to be at the religious event.
"I just feel very privileged to be here and to be able to just gather and feel the human spirit," said Chou.
As for the traditional blessing of the animals, the event has been held in Los Angeles since 1930, when priests blessed livestock. But these days, the ceremony is held mostly for people's pets.
Parishioners showed up to the iconic Olvera Street to have their pets blessed by the archbishop.
"So this is my puppy," said Alea Castillo. "She's five months old and I just wanted her to have a little blessing, kind of baptism, and yeah, we're excited."
The practice of blessing animals began in the fourth century, when the patron saint of the animal kingdom began blessing animals to promote their good health.