Although many of the churches around the area had their Blessing of the Animals last weekend, you can still have your beloved pet blessed.
Foundry United Methodist Church ( 1500 16th Street NW ) will have a Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, October 14, at 3 pm. The traditional ceremony is conducted annually in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the saint who loved all the birds and animals.
And just like St. Francis, Foundry welcomes all domesticated animals, leashed or crated.
If you plan on attending, here are some tips, courtesy of Connecticut Avenue Pet Sitting:
- Ask the priest or pastor to sprinkle water on your animal’s back. Some animals react to a traditional holy water “sprinkle” the same way they would to a squirt from a spray bottle. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a waterless blessing for cats.
- Be prepared for some cross-species conflict! Not all animals attending a blessing are dogs and cats. Some participants bring their rabbits, hamsters, birds, etc. Keep a very close eye on dogs with high prey drives, and never let any dog or cat off-leash.
- Prayer and holy water are no protection against microbes. Dogs should be up-to-date on essential vaccinations.
- Don’t stress about your denomination! Blessings of the Animals are among the most inclusive, relaxed services ever held at churches, and most welcome visitors regardless of their religious affiliation.
This Sunday, October 4, is Saint Francis of Assisi Feast Day (it happens to fall on Sunday this year). Because he was known as the patron saint of animals, many churches hold a Blessing of the Animals.
In addition, a group began celebrating World Animal Day on October 4 back in 1931; all lifeforms are celebrated and honored.
Luis and I are going to take Lupe to Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church at 15th and P NW at 10 a.m. and have her blessed. Everyone is welcome, whether or not you are a member of the church. (Friends told me that The Washington National Cathedral has a Bless of the Animals this Sunday at 2:30 p.m.) For other locations, check church websites or call them. (more…)