(Photos by Mark and Margaret Braun)
Special day for all creatures
The Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church’s annual Blessing of the Animals moved closer to a truer celebration of all of God’s creatures this year with a cat, rabbit, goat and even a goldfish joining the expected participation of 25 or more dogs.
The Rev. Ruth Morrison, with the help of the church’s Youth Group, once again presided over the annual blessing, which has been held on the first Sunday of October since 2005, honoring the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment.
Since 2005, the Animal Blessing has been dominated by the presence of dogs, averaging between 25-30 each year. Last year Lily, a Siamese cat, and Oliver, a rabbit, took part in the blessing and this year, Lily and Oliver returned to join Big Daddy the goldfish and Sugar, a goat from Down Home Farm.
The church’s Youth Group was part of the blessing for the first time, greeting all participants — creatures and owners, reading scripture, making bandanas for all animals, assisting with the individual blessings and writing Blessing Certificates.
Jen Chatfield helped to organize the Youth Group’s participation, which included Mariah Parker, Katie and Megan Connelly, Nate and Sarah Chatfield and Lydia Ingalls.
Included in the blessing, though not visible to most who took part, were two large earthworms Rev. Morrison saw crossing the path leading to the Outdoor Chapel. Also included in the blessing was a service dog-in-training brought by Chris DeSantis.
Click here for more images of the 2013 Animal Blessings:
Click here for a look back at previous years of the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church’s Animal Blessing: Blessing