Grace United Methodist Church (http://www.graconponce.org), Midtown Atlanta, held its annual Blessing of the Animals honoring the memory of St. Francis of Assisi in Piedmont Park on October 6, 2013. Rev. Kate Hurst Floyd, pastor, officiated. Patsy Woods played the flute, and Kyle Tau was on guitar.
About 75 people attended the service, accompanied by dogs of all sizes, two cats, a pair of sugar gliders, a guinea pig and a red-eared slider turtle transported in a traveling minitank. Some of the furry members of the audience got restless and noisy, despite all the attention and the treats.
Other area churches, as well as churches around the world, held similar services to celebrate our connection not only with our pets, but also with all animals and the rest of the natural world.
St. Francis, a 13th century nobleman who renounced his wealth to serve the poor, is the patron saint of animals and the environment.
St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church
St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church (http://stbarts.episcopalatlanta.org), 1790 Lavista Rd. NE in Atlanta, will hold their Blessing of the Animals on the Bell Tower lawn from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 13. The service will also recognize pets that have died in the past year. People and their pets are invited to picnic after the service.