Animal blessing Saturday

Four-legged blessing Oct. 3

The sound of angry hissing might be cause for concern on any other day at St. Mary’s Church on Bulkley Avenue, but not Oct. 3 as a blessing of the animals will be performed at noon.

The sound is perfectly understandable when coming from a cat that has mistaken a ride in the car carrier for a trip to the veterinarian’s office and not a chance to get a scratch behind the ears from a saint.

Barking and mooing and many other pet sounds can be expected during this outside ceremony on the lawn of St. Mary’s.

The Rev. Thomas Zelker will perform a blessing of the animals, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment.

It is customary for Catholic churches to hold ceremonies honoring animals around his feast the day of Oct. 4.

This year that date conflicts with Sunday services, so it was moved to Saturday and Zelker quips because his two-legged parishioners have priority.

“Saint Francis called us back to our original innocence and the beauty of all people and creation,” the priest said.

The ceremony will include a prayer meant to be a time of refocusing and rededicating to being “peaceful people in harmony with Creation and our Creator.”

Zelker said all animals are welcome to participate from farm animals to the smallest of pets. “Everyone is welcome,” he said.

Over the years, Zelker said, he’s blessed everything from hamsters and a lot of cats and dogs to a goat. During the last blessing, Zelker said, he fed a horse oats for the first time. It was also one of the larger creatures he said he had blessed. 

Zelker said there will be treats for the four-legged and two-legged patrons Saturday with a choice of cider, donuts or animal treats. For more information call 642-1262.

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