Episcopal Church of the Incarnation to host the blessing of the animals

Staff Writer

The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation will have a blessing of the animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals today at 3 p.m. weather permitting.

All creatures great and small (who do not bite) can be brought on a leash, in a crate, a carrier or just held by their owners, to the side of the church by the playground to receive a blessing by Episcopal Priest Lynn Ronaldi.

"Everyone who loves their pet is welcome to bring it to the church to be blessed," Ronaldi said. "Cats, dogs, hamsters, we even had Ken Ivey bring a couple of roosters last year. I was at another church for the blessing and one person brought his horse. I thought that was wonderful. The animals will receive a blessing and be sprinkled with Holy Water."

Ronaldi said this is always a fun event for people and their pets. Exotic pets such as hedgehogs are welcome to be blessed, as well.

"St. Francis was known for his love of nature and animals," Ronaldi said. "In pictures and statues he is depicted with or holding an animal. The service for the animals will be short. St. Francis was a joyful person and I believe he would be pleased to be remembered in this way."

Ronaldi said the day that the blessing of the animals is observed is Oct. 4, but she thought it wouldn't hurt to have it a few days early. She said children and adults who are not members of the Episcopal Church are welcome to bring their pets.

"We will have snacks for the people who come," Ronaldi said. "The church youth group will be selling $5 bags of dog treats as a fundraisers. They will also be giving dogs a bath for $5, as well. They are raising money for a mission trip."

Ronaldi said the church's youth minister, Nick Perry, a student of Mississippi State University, has some ideas for taking the youth on a trip to visit a monastery in Taize, France.

"He has gone to Taize, France with several youth groups previously," Ronaldi said. "He is familiar with the area and knows about raising money for mission trips. If they do go to Taize, there is a monastery there that is of particular interest to young people."

Everyone who loves animals is invited to be part of the blessing of the animals at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation at 3 p.m. today.