Blessings for all creatures great and small at St. Augustine's

Dozens of people brought their four-legged friends and family members to the annual Blessing of the Animals in celebration of St. Francis of Assisi at St. Augustine in-the-Woods Episcopal Church Sunday.

Rev. Nigel Taber-Hamilton said the blessing was important in many ways.

"We're celebrating St. Francis for more than one reason," he told the crowd.

"I think everyone knows that St. Francis was a lover of animals. But Francis was a lover of animals because he was a lover of everything. And he is one of those people in the history of our faith who sort of stands behind as a silent figure of the sacredness of creation.

"He loved everything, and that didn't just mean animals," he continued. "It meant humans, it meant trees — it meant all of creation.

"In a sense, our animals today are really metaphors for our love of creation," he said. "This is a good thing to celebrate."

"Not only to acknowledge that the animals who share our lives aren't really pets, but they're companions. And through them, to celebrate the joy and wonder of creation."

He then led a prayer for animals that are suffering, lost or hunted, deserted, frightened or hungry.

“Make us true friends to animals so may we all share the blessings of the merciful,” he said.

Laura Colton brought her dog Sparky, a 1-year-old King Charles spaniel with fur dyed purple, to the blessing.

"He's off to a great start - he's blessed," she said.

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