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Annual blessing of the animals held at St. John's

October 9, 2019
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Last Saturday, island pets brought their human friends to St. John's Episcopal Church in celebration of a day dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, who is regarded as the patron saint of animals.

"This is a celebration of the 19th annual St. John's St. Francis Feast Day with a Blessing of the Animals," treasurer and office administer Jane Pennington said.

About 100 chairs were set up under the massive oak tree outside St. John's as people started gathering as early as 10 a.m.

Article Photos

Rev. Ryan Wright, vicar of St. John's; Pastor Roger Lemke of Fishers of Men Lutheran Church; and Father Jacek Mazur from Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.


Everything from dogs, cats and birds were led to the church for this special ceremony that brings together pet owners and animal lovers to "share in fellowship." Each pet received a personalized certificate indicating that they have received a blessing.

The Rev. Ryan Wright, vicar of St. John's, introduced Father Jacek Mazur from Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and Pastor Roger Lemke, from Fishers of Men Lutheran Church.

Wright delivered the opening acclamation. Mazur delivered the "Prayer of Thanksgiving" and Lemke delivered the "Prayer of Stewardship."

Charlie and Eve Butler arrived with their two unusual pets - Gofin cockatoo and a hairless cat. "This cockatoo is a rescue," Charlie Butler said. "Her name is Fiona and she's lost a lot of feathers because she plucks them out and they don't grow back. Sometimes she makes a lot of noise screeching."

All during the service, Charlie reached his finger through the bars to scratch the very affectionate bird.

"She is very friendly and sociable," Charlie said. "She likes being out of her cage. At home she just sits on her perch."

Eve Butler held her hairless Sphynx cat named Rosdalie. Sphynx is a breed of hairless cat that is a naturally occurring genetic mutation. Their skin has the texture of chamois and feels soft and smooth.

Each pet was blessed by one of the three clergymen and received a certificate that said, "Pets name received a blessing and was sprinkled in a manner likened unto the ancient blessing of animals by Francis of Assisi."

St. Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni di Pietro Bernardone, was an Italian Catholic Friar and preacher. Though he was never ordained to the Catholic priesthood, St. Francis is one of the most idolized people in Catholic history.

This event was open to everyone even if they didn't have a pet. A few people brought pictures of their pets to be blessed.

The ladies of St. John's sponsored a bake sale before and after the blessing, hot dogs, chips, soft drinks and water were served.

Boy Scout Troop #20 was present as well as members from the Beacon of HOPE.



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