Pet Cemetery at North Beach Church Stirs Faithful

Plans to put pet remains at St. Francis of Assisi shrine shake faithful.

A final resting place for the remains of beloved ones at a church in North Beach is proving controversial.

In part because it's a church for people, but a resting place for pets.

At the 19th-century church of the Shrine of St. Francis Assisi on Columbus Avenue in North Beach is room for pets -- and apropos, considering the historical St. Francis's deep love for animals, according to the Los Angeles Times -- will be the first columbarium on church grounds dedicated to pet remains.

The local Catholic Church approves of storing pet ashes in the previously-undiscovered space in the church, which already offers a popular blessing for animals.

However, many local Catholics find the move distasteful -- or even heretical.

There's nothing in the Catholic religion that allows pet funerals in a church, as pets don't go to heaven or hell. People like Angela Alioto, who led the restoration of the church building and helped make it a National Shrine, also note that St. Francis loved animals -- as in living animals, not dead ones, the newspaper reported.

Despite the opposition, plans to store the first pet remains at the church are in the works, according to Father Harold Snider, the church's pastor.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us