Baa! Moo! Woof! Neigh! Meow! In pet language, that means, “Please bring me to church with you on Sunday, October 14th.” Why? We will celebrate St. Francis with the blessing of all creation and our animals at both services. Large animals (horses, cows, etc.) will be blessed between services in the church parking lot. Please be sure your pets are safe and secured on leashes or in cages.
So, if you want to get your pets blessed, bring them on down to St Mark on this coming Sunday, Oct 14. All are welcome!
Also on this day, we will gather a special offering of pet food or supplies for “Concern For Animals.” Concern For Animals is a local non-profit organization that relies on donations, membership, and grants to offer animal welfare services in Thurston, Mason, and Lewis Counties. Their animal food bank needs include: dog/puppy food and treats, cat/kitten food and treats, domestic bird food, non-clumping cat litter (small bags preferred), pet beds or blankets in good condition, dog and cat toys, leashes and collars, carriers and crates, and rabbit or guinea pig food. Monetary donations are also gratefully accepted. Just make your check out to St Mark and write “Concern for Animals” on the memo line. Thank you!
Francis of Assisi was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant, but early in his life he denounced his wealth and joined the church taking on the vow of poverty. Under his leadership the Order of the Franciscans came into being, and they took literally Jesus’ words to his disciples that they should take nothing on their journey and receive no payment for their work. Their task in preaching was to “use words if necessary.” Francis had a spirit of gladness and gratitude for all of God’s creation. This commemoration, has been a traditional time of the year to bless pets and animals, creatures that Francis called his brothers and sisters. Also please don’t forget all the wild animals on our planet who especially need our prayers and protection.
The Blessing of the Animals is a long standing tradition at St Mark which is looked forward to by both children and adults alike each year. We listen and talk about God’s unconditional love for us at church each Sunday and we see examples of unconditional love in many of our animal companions at home the rest of the week. This event is an opportunity to acknowledge our animal companion’s love.
In the past, people have pretty much figured out for themselves what works best for their animal. Some mellow dogs do just fine staying in the pews (on a leash) through the entire service. More excitable dogs do better in the narthex, parking lot, or in cars and are then only brought in during the actual blessing ceremony. Cats and other animals are typically kept in carrier cages until the actual ceremony. Use your own best judgment about where that carrier cage is kept. It should go without saying, if it’s a warm day, don’t leave animals unattended in a car.
See the images below for pictures from previous year’s events.