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Pet blessing Oct. 4 at Christ Episcopal Church

The tiny garden off from the side of Christ Episcopal Church is so secluded many walking down Fifth Street might not know it’s there.

But hopefully next Saturday, that will all change. At least for an hour or two. That will be the site for a Blessing of the Pets, conducted by the Rev. Sallie Schisler, co-rector of Christ Church.

Oct. 4 is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.

Born Giovanni Francesco Bernardone, St. Francis was the son of a rich merchant, who underwent a spiritual transformation after a serious illness.

Today he is known as the patron saint of animals, birds and the environment because of the stories that abound about his love of animals.

“Francis is really known as the patron saint of creation and he really saw all living creatures as brothers and sisters,” Schisler said. “That is how he has become identified with animal blessings. There is just a special bond between people and their pets that celebrates life.”

Anyone can participate in the pet blessing that will start at 3 p.m. at the church garden. The only requirement is that pets be on leashes or in cages or carriers or other appropriate restraints.

The simple service will consist of Scripture readings and prayers, then Schisler will bless each pet individually.

Afterward there will be a reception for the pet owners.

“This is an opportunity just to show how thankful we are for this little piece of creation,” Schisler said.