The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

October 3, 2013

Area animals to be blessed Sunday

LEWISBURG — The annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony this Sunday, October 6, will be held at Jim Word Memorial Park in Beckley, giving plenty of grassy space for area residents to bring their pets for special prayers.

The short ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. in the park on Neville Street in Uptown Beckley. It will be conducted by clergy from both St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and St. Luke Lutheran Church. In the past, each church held separate ceremonies.  

The annual pet blessing always takes place in early October, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals.

“Pets mean so much to us,” said the Rev. Jon M. White of St. Stephen’s. “They provide us with love and companionship and are really a part of our families. It’s only appropriate that the church should set aside one special day to honor our pets and give thanks to God for all they do for us.”

The Rev. Wanda Childs of St. Luke said any pet can be brought to the ceremony for a special blessing, not just dogs and cats.

“We know that everyone is unique, and because of that, everyone has their own unique pet they chose as their companion,” she said.

Any animal is welcome at the pet blessing. Owners are asked to have pets on leashes or in pet carriers, and they should be prepared to clean up after them in the park.

“We’re really happy to be able to have the blessing in a park this year,” White said. “It will give people and their pets more open space, and it’s convenient and centrally located.”

White said people may be shy about visiting a church they don’t regularly attend, so having the blessing in a public place allows for more people to participate.

Childs said she is thankful the two churches are doing the pet blessing together.

“Over the past two years, our churches have grown to work together on projects such as this,” she said. “We’re hopeful our friendship will continue and we can offer more to our community through combined resources.”

The pet blessing is open to all members of the public.

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