SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A historic Roman Catholic church in San Francisco is planning to build a repository where pet owners will be able to keep the ashes of cats, dogs, and other dearly departed animals.
The National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi is seeking donations for an 850-square-foot columbarium that would be the first in the city for animal remains, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday (http://bit.ly/12pU3AC).
Plans for the space include a stained-glass rendering of St. Francis, who is the patron saint of both animals and San Francisco. Urns containing the ashes of the animals enshrined there will be displayed behind glass while their photographs will be shown on a video screen.
The design also calls for a Hall of Honor for service animals that worked with disabled people and in law enforcement.
The 164-year-old church's rector, the Rev. Harold Snider, says the columbarium will be available to pet owners regardless of their religious affiliations.
"You don't have to be Christian or Catholic to love your pets and respect their memories," Snider said.
Steve Cady, who has been attending services at the church for about 15 years, said he is comforted knowing his 4 ½-year-old terrier Frankie, whom like the church is named after St. Francis, will have a good home when the dogs dies.
"He's been God's blessing for me and the many people who've gotten to know him," Cady said.
The repository will have enough room for the remains of 1,000 animals. Church leaders hope to have the project finished by spring.
Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com