The Rev. Van Moore, right, says a few words at the beginning of last year's community-wide Blessing of the Pets at St. John's Episcopal Church. This year's ceremony will be Sunday.

ABERDEEN – The Community-wide St. Francis Day Blessing of the Pets, being held Oct. 6 at 5 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, will give pet owners the opportunity for their furry friends to receive blessings.

The event is being led by St. John’s, First Presbyterian Church and First United Methodist Church, and all members of the community are invited.

“It’s an opportunity to celebrate creation and identify and recognize we have a responsibility to creation and animals because they are defenseless,” said the Rev. Sandra DePriest of St. John’s. “We had a wonderful turnout last year and hopefully we’ll have just as big of a turnout this year.”

St. Francis of Assisi believed that all creatures should praise God and that humans are responsible to be stewards of nature. In 1979, Pope John Paul II declared him as the Patron Saint of Ecology.

The annual blessing of the pets is always scheduled near St. Francis’ feast day, which is Oct. 4. In addition to prayers and blessings, the ceremony pays homage to St. Francis.

Pet owners are asked to bring their dogs on leashes and other pets in proper carriers. The pet blessing isn’t just for dogs and cats, as hamsters and hermit crabs have even received blessings.

There will be treats for the pets and cookies for their owners.

“We generally sprinkle the pets with a little water, and they usually receive that with great dignity. We also mark them with a sign of the cross and say a prayer over them,” DePriest said.

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