Westfield holds animal blessing ceremony

OBSERVER Photo by Tonja Dodd Rev. Virginia Carr leads "A Blessing of the Animals on the Feast of the St. Francis of Assisi" in Westfield's Moore Park.

WESTFIELD — Cats and dogs were recently blessed at Moore Park in the Village of Westfield. Rev. Virginia Carr from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church welcomed a group of community members and their pets. The service included songs, prayers and a Blessing of the Animals. Rev. Carr also circled around the lawn to each and every pet family, blessing individual four-legged creatures.

Rev. Carr explained that it is tradition to bless pets at this time of year in conjunction with the Episcopal Church’s celebration of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. She went on to say that the word, bless means, “To make happy.” And as our pets bring us joy, we shall bless them as well.

Pet owners joined Carr in singing, “All Creatures of Our God and King”, praising God for all animals. Carr spoke to the creation of animals from the Book of Genesis 1:20-21: “And God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.’ So, God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”

Two small breed dogs shivered in the cold during the service while their owners patiently waited to have their fur-babies favored. Mary Ann McCoy’s black and white Shih Tzu puppy, Sweetie; and, Casey, a Maltese who belongs to Pam Reed were two of the small breed doggies.

Dan and Sharon Foster of Westfield walked their two dogs to the park in order to be blessed. The couple volunteer regularly at the Northern Chautauqua Canine Rescue in Westfield. Recently, the NCCR took in several dogs from an overflowing kill-shelter in Indiana. Jacob and Buddy were on the list to be euthanized and fortunately for the pups, the NCCR took them in. While volunteering, the Fosters fell in love with the dogs and adopted them. Jacob, is a golden retriever mix with a beautiful butterscotch coat and sweet disposition to match. Buddy, an Australian English Shepard mix is equally friendly with a shiny long black coat and brown boots.

Volunteer Carol Widrig wrapped up two-week old black and white patched kitten, Hilda, to be blessed. Widrig volunteers with the Westfield Stray Cat Rescue and carried the kitten to the Pet Blessing Service from the organization’s booth at the Farmer’s Market, also in Moore Park. The Stray Cat Rescue had several older kittens on site, seeking adoption.


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