On October 4, the Episcopal Church celebrates the life and witness of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan and Clarissine Orders, advocate for the poor, and friend of the animals. In the words of the prayer attributed to St. Francis, he found that “it is in giving that we receive.”
We remember him best for his devotion to nature and animals. It is in this spirit that many Episcopal churches offer blessings of pets and other animals each year on Francis’ feast day.
This year, several parishes in the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire will offer blessings for animals. Here is a sampling:
Christ Church, Exeter, Oct 4 at 12 pm
The Rev. Mark Pendleton will celebrate the life of St. Francis of Assisi both in church and with animal blessings following the service. Come back after services at 12noon with your dogs, cats, snakes, ferrets, fish, rabbits and hamsters and join us for a special animal blessing on the front lawn of the church.
St. Paul’s Church, Concord, Saturday, Oct. 3 at 4:30 pm and Sunday, Oct. 4 at 8 am and 10 am
The Rev. Kate Atkinson welcomes all animals to attend and receive blessings at 21 Centre St., Concord.
St. Christopher’s, Hampstead, Oct. 4 at 11:30 am
The annual Blessing of the Animals by The Rev. Miriam Acevedo begins at 11:30 and will continue until the last animal is blessed. Contributions welcome for the shelter, All Better Pets, in Manchester, including contributions of Purina dog and cat food, old towels and blankets.
Church of the Holy Spirit, Plymouth, Oct. 4 at 9 am
All pets are welcome for blessings by The Rev. Grace Burson at the Griswold Hall location, 263 Highland Street.
Grace Episcopal, East Concord, Oct. 4, 10 am
Please bring stuffed animals or pictures of pets to church for blessings by The Rev. Jason Wells.
White Park, Concord, Oct. 4 from 3 pm - 4:30 pm
Blessing of the Animals will place in White Park, Concord, near the peace pole and small garden, on the Centre Street side of the pond. In addition to blessings, there will be music, activities, and treats. This event is family-friendly, free, and open to all. Blessings aren't limited to dogs and cats--other critters, from goats and chickens, to bunnies and hamsters, receive blessings each year from The Revs. Kate Atkinson, St. Paul’s Church, Concord and Jason Wells, Grace, East Concord. In the event of inclement weather, Blessing of the Animals at White Park will be cancelled.
For more information about the Episcopal Church of NH, or to find a church near you, visit www.nhepiscopal.org.