Saint Roch celebrations: 20 dogs and a mouse blessed in front of Saint-Pierre cathedral

The masses of Saint Roch are celebrated in the cathedral of Saint-Pierre on Tuesday, due to the work of the church of Saint Roch, which is closed. Monsignor Alain Guellec presided. In the afternoon, about twenty dogs and a mouse were blessed.

“When Saint-Roch left as a pilgrim…”, with these few words written on the screens of the cathedral of Saint-Pierre that the procession of the faithful of Saint-Roch entered the sacred place this Tuesday , to commemorate the traditional time devoted to the walking stake, healer of plague patients and healer of animals. The hospitality of Saint Roch, the international association Saint Roch, the barons of Caravète, deacons and priests opened the march to Monsignor Alain Guellec. The prelate is currently ensuring the episcopal transition since the retirement of Pierre-Marie Carré in July and the arrival of Norbert Turini next October, appointed by the Pope Archbishop of Montpellier.

A life dedicated to the poor

Several dozen faithful attended the solemn mass. Blessing the statue of the Montpellier saint then with the help of holy water taken from the source of the saint’s house (located rue de la Loge, editor’s note), Monsignor Guellec briefly recalled the journey of the young Roch ( born around 1350 in Montpellier), who decided, after the death of his father, to dedicate himself to the poor by distributing his wealth. At the expense of an orderly life that his education will give him: “He comforts all his resources”, punctuated by the prelate. He left Rome to visit the sick in the hospital of the Holy Spirit, an order founded by Guy de Montpellier. Later arrested, he would cry out, from the depths of his prison “Charity, love of God, self-sacrifice”, during his last breath in 1379.

Twenty dogs and one mouse were blessed by the Archbishop

At the end of the afternoon, in the forecourt of the Saint Pierre Cathedral, the owners of about twenty dogs were blessed with their pets. Catherine is there with Ibiza, a 9-year-old spitz boy who “always celebrates”, she laughs. In addition, Sandie and Marie-Thérèse came with Nhisky and Yuki, two Havanese Bichons: “We are believers, we want Saint Roch to protect them”, they underlined. Finally, Polka, three years old, joins Lionel and Margareth who are “very close to Christian values”. Finally, surprised, the archbishop blessed a little one-year-old mouse, Goutte: “I am a student of science. I got him from a laboratory”, proudly recounts Esther, his happy master that girl.

After the words of the Gospel, the songs orchestrated by Simon Juan, choirmaster and Eric Andanson on the organ, this is the moment of grace in the Eucharist, in a violin melody in which Dorota Anderszewska, supersoloist of the National Orchestra of Montpellier Occitanie , excelled. Then the procession of officers returned to the forecourt of the cathedral, a parterre heavily surrounded by police forces.

Cakes and relics

The faithful and pilgrims bought the traditional Généreux Saint Roch, small Alsatian biscuits molded by hand, before meditating in front of the relics of Saint Roch, brought for the occasion from the eponymous church. The religiously preserved stick and tibia, solid silver statue made by Jacques Lafoux, a goldsmith from Montpellier in the 19th century, and other precious objects, won public praise.

For Monsignor Alain Guellec, the Saint Roch course is topical: “He is a very famous saint, a tradition. It is a Christian festival in honor of this son of Montpellier, who worked in his time in the field of charity pure. Through the centuries. , he left a message of attention, care for the poorest, the least”.

The celebrations continued throughout the day, with a musical interlude, Jean Dekyndt on the big organ, a lecture by Michel Collomb, professor emeritus of general and comparative literature “Saint Roch imitator of Jesus Christ”, a concert by Dorota Anderszewska and finally the blessing of the city and pets (see insert) and the closing mass.

The 20th International Meetings of Saint-Roch de Montpellier will take place in Santiago de Compostela on August 24 and 25, 2022 ( and in Montpellier next year.

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