Several local churches will hold ceremonies this weekend to bless all your beloved pets: dogs, cats, horses, ferrets, goldfish – you name it.
The animal blessings are connected to the Feast Day of St. Francis, the 13th century Italian Catholic friar known for his love of animals.
One of the largest blessing ceremonies will take place at Duke Chapel on Sunday at 3:30.
After a 30-minute service featuring performances by the Durham Children’s Choir and readings by Father Michael Martin, individual blessings will be performed by ministers from Duke Chapel.
Adrienne Koch, a Duke Chapel spokesperson, says chapel ministers have blessed all kinds of animals since they began holding these ceremonies in 1989. They have even blessed grasshoppers.
Blessings at these events aren’t always limited to the present, or even the living. Parishioners at Chapel of the Cross, an Episcopal Parish holding a blessing ceremony on Sunday in Chapel Hill, have taken stuffed animals and photos of pets to be blessed.
St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Southeast Raleigh will hold its blessing ceremony Saturday. The Rev. Jemonde Taylor will lead the prayers and blessings. “Blessing animals reminds us to thank God for all nature,” Taylor said.
The St. Ambrose event takes place at 4 p.m.
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Raleigh will follow its Sunday blessing ceremony with a rabies vaccination clinic, featuring $10 rabies shots.
At all blessing events, animals must be properly restrained and under the control of their handler.