Golden Retriever Comforts the Congregation

Erika, the Golden Retriever expresses "a compassion that many people do not offer each other."


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At the end of services this holiday season, Erika will enter St. Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church with Eckholm and approach the altar. She'll sit as he kneels and prays and, as she always does, stare at the crucifix as the acolytes attend to the candles. She'll exit with the procession and greet departing congregants by offering her paw. The children will hug her and whisper in her ear. Parishioners sometimes ask if one can pray to a dog, and Eckholm will answer, "Not really, but I do know this: God promised me that when we go to heaven, we'll be perfectly happy there. If you need your dog in order to be perfectly happy, then I know without a doubt your dog will be waiting there for you."



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Jim & Nancy   Slatington, Pennsylvania

2/24/2014 1:51:08 AM

Sadly I comment here, as I looked up Father Vince on the internet, we found out yesterday, 2/23/14, that he had passed away. My wife & I got to know Father Vince through his episode on the Animal Planet Channel. We had contacted him after seeing the show & asked if he would give us closure on the loss of our dear family dog and bless his ashes, and he did. We were not members of the congregation and lived 800 miles away. Father Vince said if you bring your dogs ashes here to me in Antioch, I will bless them. We have kept in contact with him the past 7 years. We are devastated by his passing. St. Francis had nothing on Father Vince. I will not say R.I.P. Father Vince, as we hope you're busy blessing and taking care of all of the animals in heaven. God now bless you and keep you in his care, and until we meet again, we will miss you dearly!

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