Wednesday, September 29, 2010

All Saints to bless animals

Pets of all shapes and sizes will be lining up at the All Saints Anglican Church for the Blessing of the Animals. Animals are blessed across North America for St. Francis Day (which officially falls on Oct. 4), dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi — the patron saint of animals and ecology. Penny West said the Cochrane blessing has been going on for the last four years. She said when the service begins the animals seem to sense the importance of what’s going on.

“The minute the service starts everything goes quiet,” she said. “When it’s time for them to get their blessing, they line up. We’ve had dogs lined up behind cats, nobody bats an eye.”West said last year’s blessing even had a quarter-horse. Other than the usual cats and dogs she said she’s seen rabbits and a photo of a fish.

Animals line up and are blessed with an evergreen sprig dipped in holy water by Anglican minister Greg Clark and brothers from the Mount Saint Francis Retreat Centre. “All the animals are God’s creatures just like you and the rest of us,” West said. The event is open to all owners and pets, and the service starts at 2 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring donations for the Cochrane and Area Humane Society.


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