(The Local) The church in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, dedicated to St Rita, patron saint of hopeless causes, is famous for holding a mass once a month for the blessing of animals. It is now being forced to shut after its owner, the Swiss Catholic community, sold the building.

Archbishop Dominique Philippe of the Gallican Church, a breakaway Catholic grouping, has welcomed cats, dogs, fish, horses and even circus animals to his Sunday services for the past thirty years. ‘Around six hundred’ animals had attended in the past year, he estimated.

“We’ve had zebras here, and last year we even had a little boar,” the Archbishop said to daily paper Le Parisien.

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