Dogs and church are not typically two things that go together. You may see one if there’s a special “blessing of the animals” event or if someone has brought their service dog. For parishioners at the St. Mary of Assumption Catholic church in San Donaci, Italy, the presence of a 12-year-old German Shepherd is common.
The dog, named Ciccio, was rescued by Maria Margherita Lochi back in 2011. Lochi made Ciccio part of the family right away, and regularly brought him with her to mass, Life with Dogs reports. Two years later, Lochi passed away and Ciccio was taken in by her relatives. Not understanding where his human is, every time Ciccio hears the church bells, he runs to the church and lies down at the altar.
The priest who holds the services, Father Donato Panna, told Daily Mail, “He’s there every time I celebrate Mass and is very well behaved – he doesn’t make a sound, I’ve not heard one bark from him in all the time he has been coming in. He used to come to Mass with Maria and he was obviously devoted to her – I let him stay inside as he was always so well behaved and none of the other parishioners ever complained to me. He’s still coming to Mass even after Maria’s funeral; he waits patiently by the side of the altar and just sits there quietly. I didn’t have the heart to throw him out – I’ve just recently lost my own dog so I leave him there until Mass finishes and then I let him out.”
We’re sure Ciccio and Lochi will be reunited someday.