Archived Story

Pet blessing honors creation

Published 1:18pm Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Calling all pythons, ferrets, mongooses or even just those quadrupeds who travel by van — aka horses, cows and goats.

On Saturday at 1 p.m. in the garden of Christ Episcopal Church in Ironton, you will be guests of honor at the sixth annual pet blessing.

“I am on the lookout for unusual animals,” said the Rev. Sallie Schisler, priest in charge at Christ Church. “I love the dogs and cats, but I certainly welcome the more unusual, exotic animals.”

The pet blessing is in honor of St. Francis, the patron saint of all living creatures. Francis was a rich man’s son who early on led a life of luxury. The 13th Century Italian Catholic made a pilgrimage to Rome where the sight of the poor begging in the streets overwhelmed him.

From that experience he made the commitment to serve the poor, living a life of poverty from that moment on. Francis founded an order of itinerant preachers. In 1228 he was proclaimed a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. His feast day is Oct. 4.

“Creation is where St. Francis developed his spirituality for all living things,” Schisler said. “He was such a gentle spirit. Animals were attracted to him. They knew instinctively. You see statutes of him with a bird resting on his hands. His nature was to welcome all.”

At the outdoor service there will be the reading of a short selection from the Scriptures, some prayers and then Schisler will offer individual blessings to each animal.

“I think that there is such chemistry between people and their pets,” she said. “You know those relationships are holy relationships and that comes from the Book of Genesis where God created animals and then he created people. They were to be in a relationship with the animals. Those are blessed relationships.”

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