Saint Roch celebrations: 20 dogs and a mouse blessed on the forecourt of Saint-Pierre cathedral - THECHOWANIECS.COM

Saint Roch celebrations: 20 dogs and a mouse blessed on the forecourt of Saint-Pierre cathedral

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

“When Saint-Roch left as a pilgrim…”, it is with these few words inscribed on the screens of Saint-Pierre cathedral that the procession of the faithful of Saint-Roch entered the sacred place this Tuesday, to commemorate the traditional period devoted to the walking stake, healer of plague patients and benefactor of animals. Hospitality 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 last July and the arrival of Norbert Turini next October, appointed by the Pope Archbishop of Montpellier.

A life dedicated to the less fortunate

Several dozen faithful attended the solemn mass. Blessing of the statue of the Montpellier saint then of the assistance with the holy water drawn from the source of the house of the saint (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, on the death of his father, to devote himself to the poor by distributing his wealth. To the detriment of a tidy life that his education could give him: “He consoles with all his resources”, punctuated the prelate. He left for Rome to see the sick of the hospital of the Holy Spirit, an order founded by Guy de Montpellier. Later arrested, he will cry out, from the depths of his dungeon “Charity, love of god, self-sacrifice”, at the time of his last breath in 1379.

Twenty dogs and a mouse were blessed by the Archbishop

At the end of the afternoon, on the forecourt of Saint Pierre Cathedral, the owners of around twenty dogs had their pets blessed. There was Catherine with Ibiza, a 9-year-old spitz male “always celebrating”, she laughs. Further on, Sandie and Marie-Thérèse came with Nhisky and Yuki, two Havanese Bichons: “We are believers, we want Saint Roch to protect them”, they underline. Finally, Polka, three years old, came with Lionel and Margareth “very attached to Christian values”. Finally, surprised, the archbishop blessed a little one-year-old mouse, Goutte: “I am a science student. I got her from a laboratory”, proudly recounts Esther, her happy mistress.

After the words of the Gospel, the songs orchestrated by Simon Juan, choirmaster and Eric Andanson on the organ, it was the moment of grace of the Eucharist, on a melody on the violin where Dorota Anderszewska, supersoloist of the National Orchestra of Montpellier Occitanie, excelled. Then the procession of officials returned to the cathedral forecourt, a parterre firmly surrounded by police forces.

Cakes and relics

The faithful and pilgrims were able to buy the traditional Généreux Saint Roch, small Alsatian biscuits molded by hand, before meditating in front of the relics of Saint Roch, brought out for the occasion from the eponymous church. Stick and tibia religiously preserved, solid silver statue made by Jacques Lafoux, a silversmith from Montpellier in the 19th century, and some other precious objects, won the admiration of the public.

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

The celebrations continued all day, with a musical interlude, Jean Dekyndt on the great organ, a lecture by Michel Collomb, professor emeritus in 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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