Pets receive blessing

In the name of St. Francis

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  • Saint Francis of Assisi Image courtesy of Catholic news World

  • Ginger, a 17-year-old spaniel Photos by Meghan Byers

  • Father David McDonnell administering the blessing

  • Adopted chihuahuas Posh and Buttercup with owner Jane

  • Thor, a German shepherd, there for his third year

By Meghan Byers

— Bounding out of cars or carried by their owners, creatures great and small gathered on a recent afternoon at Our Lady of the Lake Roman Catholic Church parking lot. It was October 4 – the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, a Catholic saint best known for his love of animals – and they were there to receive their blessings.

Our Lady of the Lake has held their Blessing of the Pets ceremony for over fifteen years, and similar events take place at churches around the country on or near October 4 to celebrate the bond between pets and their owners. This year, the majority of the animal attendees were canine, and the parking lot was filled with wagging tails and the occasional bark as Father David McDonnell led their human companions in prayer.

Some dogs paced or whined as they awaited their blessings, but seventeen-year-old spaniel Ginger was perfectly patient.

“This is her third year,” explained owner Gary Elliott, adding, “That’s how she got to be seventeen.”

Treats were handed out to all participants, and each animal was identified by name.

Looking out at the pets and owners standing together in the afternoon sunlight, McDonnell smiled, and said, “They truly are a blessing to our lives.”

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