Church Will Bless Animals
Flocks will descend on St. George's for the annual Blessing of the Animals
The Feast Day of St. Francis is commemorated by the annual "Blessing of the Animals" on the first Sunday in October. This Sunday, October 7, at 10:15 a.m. St George's Episcopal Church in Maplewood invites all kinds of four-legged friends (including beloved stuffed animals) to be blessed by the church priests in the Lenten Garden.
St. Francis was born in Italy in 1182 of French parents, thus some believe his name is in homage to his French ancestry. The basic story of St. Francis is that he was raised in wealth and he enjoyed the pleasures money can bring. He later renounced material things to the disdain of his parents and sought a life honoring natural beings, the sun, moon and all living creatures. The "Blessing of the Animals" is an expression of loving kindness to all creatures.
Last year's event saw blessed was Jan the lizard, Leah the mixed-breed rescued all the way from Santorse, Puerto Rico, Sasha, Jack, Gilbert, Casper, Steel, Princess, Birdie, who was not a bird and Swimmie the turtle who was referred to as a "hand-me-down." There were stuffed birds and "Racoony," the pocket-sized stuffed raccoon stand-in for four cats and a dog who had passed. All the scaly, furry and synthetic friends are invited into the church sanctuary after their blessing for a full Episcopal service, even joining the humankind at the altar for communion.