Episcopal Church’s Blessing of the Pets planned for Saturday evening
OGDEN — Blessing all living things has long been a practice in the Episcopal Church. On Saturday, members of the public are invited to attend the annual Blessing of the Pets at Ogden’s Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 2374 Grant Ave.
The Rev. Canon Mary June Nestler, interim priest of the Good Shepherd, will be blessing animals of all types and sizes on the east lawn beginning at 5 p.m.
A short service of Thanksgiving will be held for all the world’s creatures, specifically for animals who are endangered, prior to the blessing.
“It has to be a short service because the animals grow restless,” Nestler said.
Attending animals will be blessed with holy water and a prayer.
From elephants to spiders, Nestler said she will bless all creatures, given they can withstand being sprinkled with holy water.
Having performed numerous pet blessings as an ordained priest, Nestler said she believes many animals know there is something happening because they suddenly get “very reverent.”
She recalled a time, while serving as a chaplain at a school in Los Angeles, when a goose was brought before her for a blessing. Nestler had just finished her prayer for the animal when it looked up and let out a honk — as if to say “amen.”
“We bless them because they are precious, because it reminds us of the goodness of all God’s creation and because they are gifts to this planet,” Nestler said.
Saint Francis, of the Catholic Church, celebrated the beauty of all creation including animals which is why the Blessing of the Pets is held in early October, around Saint Francis Day, because he is the patron saint of the environment and animals.
In addition to living creatures getting blessed on Saturday, anyone who is grieving a lost pet is encouraged to attend and receive a blessing.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story listed an incorrect date for the event.