12-July-2001 -- Catholic World News Feature Story |

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DOG WALKS 16 MILES TO MASS EVERY SUNDAY

LISBON, Portugal - Unlike many humans, Preta the dog goes to church every Sunday -- and even walks 16 miles (26 km) to get there.

Every Sunday for the last three years, the animal has headed out of her owner's home in the northern Portuguese town of Sobrado at 5 a.m., Correio da Manha newspaper reported on Monday.

A former stray, Preta -- Portuguese for ``black'' -- walks alone to a church in neighboring Ermesinde to take her usual place next to the altar in time for 7.30 a.m. mass. Whenever worshippers stand up or sit down, Preta does the same. Once mass is over, she usually walks back home. Sometimes Preta will return in a car -- but only with a human she knows, the newspaper said.

Congregations have grown at the church as many people come just to see Preta, Correio da Manha said.

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