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20120127_Snipes_Dogs_0491MISSION — USA Today ran a story this month about Rev. Roy Snipes, the popular priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, and his dogs who attend Mass, confessions and other church functions. The national newspaper said the dogs help to put people more at ease and “open hearts wider to receive the good father’s message.”

In a telephone interview with the Progress Times this week, Snipes fondly recalled his first dog assistant, Magna, whom he adopted over 25 years ago.

“Magna adopted me in Starr County,” he said. “She was the foundress of all this.”

Today, Snipes has five dogs that regularly attend church services, donning a red or white cape. One of them, Bendito, is the great-great grandson of Magna. The others include Chunkly, Newly, Puebla and Girly. All of them are rescued dogs, and he has several other dogs he has taken in – 13 in all – who don’t attend church.

Accompanying the story is a series of photos taken by Progress Times photographer Doug Young. The photos show some of Snipes’ five dogs at his side during church services.

Young, a photojournalist for the Progress Times since 2007, has had his work published by other major newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, the New York Post and the San Antonio-Express News.

“Doug is an excellent and versatile photojournalist with a natural instinct for news,” said Jim Brunson, publisher of the Progress Times. “He is a pleasure to work with.”

Young retired from the University of Texas-Pan American several years ago and has since pursued photography, both as a life-long interest and as a means to support Vietnamese students he sponsors to come to the U.S. for a university education.

The USA Today story ran in the Jan. 12 print issue in the Life section of all editions of the nationally distributed newspaper. The link to the online story is http://yourlife.usatoday.com/parenting-family/pets/dogs/story/2012-01-11/Pooches-take-the-pulpit/52504758/1. A link in the story will take the reader to a photo gallery of eight photos taken by Young.

More photos of Snipes and his dogs are posted on the Progress Times photo gallery at www.progresstimes.net

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