A mass honoring pets

March 10, 2008 4:49:34 AM PDT

Managua Archbishop Leopoldo Brenes presided over the annual mass of Saint Lazarus, the saint of animals, at the Magdalena church in Masaya.

Worshippers from across the country lit candles and prayed for their costumed, four-legged friends: One woman cradled a pig wearing a sweater, while a man proudly held up a small dog clad in a military uniform.

Capped by a contest for the best-dressed critter, the mass is held each year ahead of Palm Sunday in this city just east of the capital.