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Christ Church to host pet blessings

Christ Episcopal Church is inviting all of the community, two-legged, four-legged, winged, scaled or gilled, to its third annual Blessing of the Animals at 3 p.m. this Saturday.

The blessing will be at the church on the corner of Fifth Street and Park Avenue in the memorial garden. Rev. Sallie Schisler, vicar of the church, said to bless the animals is a time to be thankful for that particular animal and to seek the animal’s continued good health and enjoyment for the owner.

“Every year on the feast of St. Francis, congregations often have the blessing of animals because St. Francis was the patron saint of all creation, especially the living creatures,” Schisler said. “So it’s a nice way to continue holding his feast day in memory, by offering a blessing to the pets that make such a difference in people’s lives.”

The feast day of St. Francis is on Oct. 4, but the blessing of the animals is on Saturday.

“There will be a short service, and then the pet blessing itself is very brief,” she said. “It will last probably no more than an hour, maybe 45 minutes. The blessing is for the animal and the animal owner to enjoy the gift of the special creation in that particular animal.”

Schisler said God gave animals to sustain and comfort people physically and emotionally. She said the blessing of the animals remind us of God’s goodness.

Everyone is welcome to the event, as are all pets.

“We probably had about 15 pets each year,” she said. “I’ve been in communities where people bring their horses. It can be quite an event.”

While Christ Church hasn’t had horses yet, last year it was rumored that a snake would be attending the service.

“While snakes would be welcome, I was a little dubious about how I would respond to a snake,” she laughed.

Schisler said a rat was blessed last year, and being that it was in a cage, it went fine.

“Any animal is welcome, as long as it is accompanied by an owner who can contain it,” Schisler laughed.