Special blessings for pets today at Episcopal church

Sunday, October 7, 2012
Billie and Tammy Crowell, with Conrad and Oscar, at last year's pet blessing at the Episcopal Church of the Reedeemer. The annual pet blessing begins this afternoon at 4. (Submitted photo)

You may take your pet to church this afternoon at Episcopal Church of the Redeemer on East Lane Street. It's an annual tradition the church offers to the community to celebrate the love pets provide to their families.

Families like the Crowells have been joining this event since it began a half-dozen years ago. "We love our boys," said Billie Crowell of her 'granddogs' Conrad and Oscar.

Special service

Father Peter Whelan will offer a prayer service, and then each pet will receive an individual blessing along with a St. Francis pet tag and a certificate of commemoration.

The event is held near the official Feast Day honoring St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. In the Catholic Church calendar, St. Francis' feast day is Oct. 4.

"It's to honor St. Francis," said Whelan. "But it's also to realize God has given us this created world to use for our benefit and to his honor and glory -- including pets. They are our companions, our confidants. They are expressions of love and they help us realize we are not the center of the universe."

Many creatures

The event is for domestic animals, and over the years Whelan says he has blessed all sorts of critters, dogs, cats, birds, a pot-bellied pig -- even a tarantula, "... which I didn't touch," he assures.

Whatever type of animal you bring, make sure to keep it contained, whether on a leash, in a pet carrier or in a cage, especially as the church's location is near city traffic.

The public is encouraged to attend the event at 4 p.m. Donations of pet food and supplies are welcome, and any love offerings will be donated to local animal charities.

For questions, call the church office at 684-5506.