Muskoka To-DAILY

All animals welcome for ‘Blessing of the Animals’ at St. James Anglican Church Oct. 1 in Gravenhurst

By Mary Leger, Special to

GRAVENHURST — All creatures great and small will be blessed at 3 p.m. on October 1, 2017 at St. James Anglican Church, 191 Hotchkiss St., Gravenhurst to celebrate the love that our pets so unselfishly give year after year.

St. James has been inviting the community to a Blessing of the Animals service on the Sunday closest to St. Francis of Assisi Day since 2009.

St. Francis of Assisi is the Patron Saint of Animals and Ecology.

At our first service seven years ago the smallest animal present was Missy the Chihuahua and the largest was Chico the horse.

The service is informal, short and simple, with focus on the animals and their importance in our lives. Pets will be blessed, one at a time, by Rev. Heather Manuel while remaining seated in the church pews. (Yes, dogs are allowed on the furniture, and pets are allowed to make joyful noises.)

Animals teach us so much about the way we should live and how to get along. I have witnessed a huge black and brown dog of German origin making friends with a four-pound canine whose ancestors are Mexican. Apparently, animals don’t need diversity training!

We invite pets to be part of our families and, in return, they love us unconditionally. It seems fitting that once a year we bring our pets together so that we can give thanks for the years of loyalty they have given us, and ask God’s blessing on these family members who have blessed us so much in their relatively short lives.

Blessing of the Animals is a community event where everyone is welcome! Your pet needn’t be a church-goer to attend. If your pet is not able to attend, please bring a photo and he/she will be blessed by Reverend Heather.

This is also a fun afternoon for people without pets. Please do come and enjoy the antics of God’s creatures and watch how curiously they socialize with each other downstairs after the service. There are always ample treats for people and their pets, and water bowls placed around the hall.

We look forward to seeing you at 3:00 p.m. on October 1, 2017 at St. James Anglican Church, 191 Hotchkiss Street, Gravenhurst, to celebrate the love that our pets so unselfishly give year after year.

Let’s fill the church with ALL creatures, great and small!

(Please consider bringing a donation to help the animals at the OSPCA Muskoka animal shelter. Your donation can be as simple as a can of dog or cat food, Canadian Tire money, or old newspapers to line cat cages. We will also have a cash donation box available)

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