The Blessings of the Pets in honor of St. Francis of Assisi took place both at St. Pius X Church in Essex Center and at Holy Family Church in Essex. For the convenience of the parishioners, the blessing did not take place on his feast day, Oct. 4, but on Sunday, the day before, after parish Masses. Edmundite Father Charles Ranges is a lover of dogs, and three of them, at different times, have lived in the rectory; now his only pet is “Billy the Beta,” a fish who lives by himself in a bowl but still keeps the pastor of the Essex Catholic Community company.