DOWNTOWN: Residents celebrate love for animals with church blessings

Sunday, October 2, 2011 | 7:43 p.m. CDT; updated 9:42 p.m. CDT, Sunday, October 2, 2011
Mother Christina Cobb, right, gives a blessing to Chance, a 3-year-old dog of Ashley White, left, at Calvary Episcopal Church on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 2, 2011.

COLUMBIA — People of all ages and their furry friends gathered at Calvary Episcopal Church on Sunday evening to celebrate St. Francis of Assisi Blessing of the Animals.

Many types of animals were brought to the event, including dogs, chickens and even a desert tortoise. The Blessing of the Animals is celebrated every year in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi's love for all creatures and to celebrate the special bond owners and their pets share.


Related Media

The ceremony began with a prayer — "Bless the Lord, all you his creatures, and forget not all his benefits." Dogs curiously studied each other, and a duck nuzzled its owner and nibbled on her hair.

To bless the animals, leaders of the church placed their hands on the animals and prayed: "May you be blessed in the name of God who created you. May you live your life with joy and bring happiness to those who love you. Amen."

"I love this service and take it seriously because I firmly believe that God’s world includes all beings," said Cathy Rosenholtz, interim associate for pastoral care. 

"It means a lot to people who love their pets,” said Knute Jacobson, rector of Calvary Episcopal Church. "I think they bring their pets because they are grateful for them and want God to bless them and their lives together. It also makes us think about our relation to all of creation." 

After each animal was blessed, Rosenholtz and Christine Cobb, chaplain to Episcopal Campus Ministry, visited with the pet owners, and Jacobson gave out treats to each blessed animal.

Lori Durben attended the event with her husband and three Samoyeds — Aleksey, Ivan and Zoe.

"Zoe is our oldest and had some health problems a few years back, so it's nice to get the blessing for her," Durben said. "To us, the blessing means God is watching our pets, keeping them safe and hopefully keeping them out of trouble."

Durben ruffled her barking Samoyed’s fur and added, "That means you Ivan."

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.