It was all about the animals as a large crowd gathered in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach Saturday, October 5 next to Alffredo's Beach Club at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Granada Street for the12th Annual Blessing of the Animals.
Organized by Justin Rudd a popular well-known community leader and Belmont Shore resident — the event included a walk down a red carpet for pet owners and their wide variety of animal companions.
Animals ranging from dogs, cats, reptiles, horses, ponies and rabbits to farm animals such as sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and ducks all eagerly awaiting to be blessed with holy water and olive branches by eight faith leaders of varying denominations.
The ceremony honored St. Francis of a Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the recognition, importance and the impact animals have in our lives as well as our responsibility as animal parents and caretakers for all of God's creatures.
Performing the blessings were Reverend Shipp, Kim Masumi of SGI-USA Buddhist, Bishop Chris Carpenter of the Reformed Catholic Church Community of the Resurrection, Reverend Tony Graf a Reformed Catholic priest, Reverend Doctor Angela Chester of Blessings All Around, Pastor Samuel Nieva of Pueblo de Dios Lutheran Church in Compton, Pastor Andre Alexsen of Calvary Church, and Pastor Mike Goldsworthy of Parkcrest Christian Church.
Each gave a two minute dialogue just before sunset and as the sun slowly disappeared creating a lovely silhouette of San Pedro and PalosVerdes the ceremonial blessings began as several lines of human and animal companions formed calmly and peacefully.
After the ceremony many stayed to socialize, mingle and enjoy the company of animals.
Special thanks to Justin Rudd and animal lovers everywhere.