Old-style priest’ blessed 60,000 animals

Published September 4, 2007

Canon Horace Baugh, an Anglican priest well-known for inaugurating Montreal’s annual blessing of the pets atop Mount Royal Park and building the skiers’ chapel in St. Sauveur des Monts in the Laurentians, died July 22 at the age of 91.

Hundreds gathered at the funeral held July 27 at Christ Church, Mille Isles, one of several churches in the Laurentians that Mr. Baugh helped to build, reported the Montreal Gazette.

A recipient of various community service medals, Mr. Baugh had also served as town councillor in Morin Heights, Que., as a school commissioner (for 50 years) and as a justice of the peace. After 64 years as a priest, he was, at his death, still active as priest-in-charge of New Glasgow and Kilkenny parishes. He conducted services even after losing his sight seven years ago.

Bishop Barry Clarke, diocesan bishop of Montreal, who conducted the funeral service, said Mr. Baugh was “an old-style priest” who would not only be remembered for his loyalty to the church but “for his willingness to take on added responsibilities and reach out to the community.” The bishop added, “He had strong conviction for all of creation, not just the human part but the animal world as well. That will be his legacy.” He expressed the hope that others will carry on Mr. Baugh’s annual pet blessings on Mount Royal.

He was also a great ecumenist who held services in Mille Isles for Presbyterians, said Eugene Hiscock, a three-term member of the Newfoundland legislature in the 1980s who studied theology under Mr. Baugh before entering politics.

Born in Arundel, Que., in 1916, Mr. Baugh followed in the footsteps of his father, Rev. Cyrus Baugh, an Anglican priest who served the Laurentian region for 65 years until his death in 1976.

Mr. Baugh studied theology at McGill University’s Diocesan College and was ordained a priest at Christ Church Cathedral in Fredericton in 1944. He began his ministry in New Brunswick, serving in the Miramichi region and in Grand Manan, Bay of Fundy.

The Gazette said that Mr. Baugh once estimated that he had individually blessed more than 60,000 pets including dogs, cats, horses, birds, snakes, turtles, lizards and even a skunk.

Mr. Baugh is survived by his wife Dorothy, daughter Marlena, sister Beatrice, and brother Howard.


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