30 September 2016

Churches Welcome Animals This Weekend

Churches all over the world are opening their doors to animal companions for the annual blessing of the animals.

(Nice, France, Eric Gaillard/Reuters)
Hosted in early October in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, the event celebrates the human animal bond.

Attendees can bring their pet for an individual blessing by an officiant and thanks are given for the role animals play in the community.

Many are also there to grieve the loss of their animal family member and attend with photos or momentoes for a blessing.

The Calgary, Alberta event is this Saturday at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, traditionally has approximately 300 animal attendees, and is in its 20th year.

Heather Trainor, event organizer, told the Calgary Herald, “I didn’t think it would turn into this annual event.”

“When you have that many animals in that enclosed area, you’d expect a lot of a ruckus — and at first there is but they settle right down,” said Trainor.

You never know what type of animal may come through the door or what might happen.

St. Ann & the Holy Trinity and Grace churches in Brooklyn Heights will be hosting a blessing this Sunday.

Their blog shares stories of past events which included a hen laying an egg during the service and an escaping tarantula.

The Rev. Pamela Lynch presides over the service at St. Andrew Episcopal Church in Gaylord, MI.

“The minute you start the service, they calm down,” Lynch told the Gaylord Herald Times. “It’s like the animals really get it, that something special is going on — that this is something sacred.”

After the service, Lynch travels to the Otsego County Animal Shelter to bless the homeless animals in their care.

She believes the event is a beautiful way to honour animals and the unconditional love they give.

Blessing of the animals services seem to be growing in popularity and number. 

So if you are interested in attending a service, chances are there is an event in your area.

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