Annual ‘Animal Blessing’ service next Friday

Published 4:58 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Trinity rector John David Barnes blesses a dog during last year's "Blessing of the Animals" service.

Trinity rector John David Barnes blesses a dog during last year’s “Blessing of the Animals” service.

Trinity Episcopal Church will hold its annual Blessing of the Animals next Friday, Oct. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in Trinity’s churchyard.

The annual service is held in many churches, especially Catholic, Episcopal and Lutheran ones, around St. Francis of Assisi’s feast day, which is Oct. 4. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and the environment.

Trinity rector John David Barnes said the Blessing of the Animals serves several different purposes.

Email newsletter signup

“It acknowledges that Christians believe God is the source of all life — not just human life,” Barnes said. “As a portion of God’s creation, animal life does indeed have meaning, and it should be afforded some measure of respect.”

Samuel Barnes and a cat family at last year's Blessing of the Animals.

Samuel Barnes and a cat family at last year’s Blessing of the Animals.

It’s also a time for pet owners to thank God for their pets and the happiness they bring.

“Our pets mean so much to us. They are part of our families. They can be a comfort to us when we are scared, lonely, anxious or angry,” Barnes said. “Some animals are able to show unconditional love and devotion to us when nobody else will. Others can provide a source of entertainment and reflection of the miraculous world in which we live.”

The service is also a reminder of the importance of being good stewards of the environment.

“It is obvious God put so much care and effort into the design of the little parts of the universe, what does that say about us as human beings?” Barnes said. “I believe it affirms the importance of our lives and the great responsibility we have been given to be good stewards of God’s creation.”

Through the years, Barnes has blessed dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, a miniature pony and turtle, among other creatures.

During Friday’s service, all dogs must remain on a leash.

“If you have a pet that is skittish or maybe venomous, you can bring a picture instead,” Barnes said. “We will also remember the pets that have died over the year.”

For more information, contact Trinity Episcopal Church at (334) 289-3363.