Pine Island animals are encouraged to bring their humans and friends to church on Saturday, Oct. 1, in celebration of a day dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, regarded worldwide as the patron saint of animals and the environment.
Several clergy members will recognize this by celebrating St. Francis’ feast day with a Blessing of the Animals under the oak trees at St. John’s Episcopal Church, located at 7771 Stringfellow Road in St. James City.
The blessing will take place at 11 am This is the 21st annual Blessing of the Animals, which brings together pet owners and animal lovers to share in fellowship and for an opportunity for their furry and feathered friends to receive prayers intended just for them. Each pet will receive a personalized certificate indicating that they have received a blessing.
Assisting the Rev. Marcel Algernon, new priest-in-charge at St. John’s, will be the Rev. Kaylee Vida, pastor of Pine Island United Methodist Church; the Rev. Tom Hafer, pastor of Fisher’s Lutheran Church of Men; and the Rev. Jacek Mazur, pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church.
This event is open to everyone, even if you don’t have a pet! There will be a brief outdoor service, an interesting speaker, followed by the blessing of each animal that has come to church that day. St. John’s only request is that pets be on leashes or contained. If it is too difficult to bring your pet, you are welcome to bring a picture and join us.
This is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to have a Saturday activity together. This year we will be collecting food for the Beacon of Hope Emergency Food Pantry, so please bring your food items to donate to the event.
Hot dogs, chips, iced tea, lemonade and water will be available. Pet medals for cats and dogs with a special animal blessing will be offered for sale.
For more information about this year’s Blessing of the Animals, please call St. John’s Episcopal Church at 239-283-1820.