St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis, Maryland, will hold a Blessing of the Animals on October 8, continuing a tradition of the parish holding this celebration.
The annual blessing of companion animals, to be offered in St. Anne’s churchyard in Church Circle, is in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, whose Feast day in the Episcopal Church is October 4. Churches worldwide, including Episcopal parishes such as St. Anne’s, traditionally honor St. Francis’s memory with the practice of blessing animals on or near his traditional Feast day. The custom is ancient and dates before the time of Francis as part of the celebration of the Passover in Judaism.
Furry, hairy, scaly, shell-covered or stuffed animals are all welcome to receive a blessing by one of our clergy. “It’s really wonderful to see the beautiful and beloved creatures with whom people spend their lives,” said the Rev. Dr. Amy E. Richter, rector of St. Anne’s. “Our prayers at the blessing service also acknowledge our dependence on animals for our well-being and celebrate the joy they bring to our lives.”
St. Anne’s will welcome both parishioners and members of the public to bring their pets to be blessed as well as a donation of food or pet supplies for the SPCA. The parish also will accept monetary donations for the SPCA.
Pony rides, music and face painting begin at 12:45 p.m. in the churchyard, with the Blessing of the Animals at 1 p.m.