MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Trinity Episcopal Church held its first animal Blessing on Oct. 2.
To celebrate the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, which is Oct. 4, the church decided to have an animal blessing the first weekend in October.
“A lot of churches have done it and we do a live nativity every year. So, we wanted to include this,” Rev. Michael Hadaway, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, said.
The Animal Blessing was not a church service.
“What we did was an individual blessing for each animal. I would bend down or hold the animal and ask God to watch over the animal and [I would] thank God for the gift of the animal.” Hadaway said.
During the two-hour blessing, three cats, about 20 dogs and a sheep named Cotton were blessed.
“Some people were just walking their dogs and stopped to get their dog blessed. That was our goal,” he said.
Irene Marinelli, who writes for The Dominion Post, has been a member of the Trinity Episcopal Church for the last ten years and brought her three-year-old golden-doodle, Pierre, to the blessing.
“I think it is wonderful. I think our animals are such a blessing for us. They become family to us. They deserve to be blessed,” Marinelli said.
With a variety of animals being blessed, some might have worried about all the animals getting along. Marinelli said everyone got a long fine.
“The dogs sniffed each other and the cats hid in their carriers and Cotton just kept to himself and ate corn,” she said.
Marinelli wants people to realize what the celebration is really for.
“It is because we are honoring Saint Francis who is legendary for his love of animals and love of all life. And this is the Feast of Saint Francis so in honor of him we bless the animals,” she said.