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Blessing of Animals Celebrates Life, Unconditional Love

Live pets, stuffed animals, even pet photos, are eligible for blessings. Click to view larger
Live pets, stuffed animals, even pet photos, are eligible for blessings. (St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Church)

The public is invited to attend St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church free Blessing of the Animals gathering at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, at the church, 2901 Nojoqui Ave., Los Olivos.

The blessing of the animals is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures great and small on his feast day of Oct. 4.

People of all ages are welcome to bring pets (on a lead or in a crate) for a special individual prayer of blessing by the Rev. Dr. Randall Day, priest and rector of St. Mark’s starting at 5 p.m.

There will be a musical performance by multi-instrumentalist Adam Phillips, the founder/director of Santa Barbara Folk Orchestra, followed by a complimentary reception featuring animal treats and water for pets; plus beverages, wine an cheese for their humans.

The service will be casual, held outdoors in front of the church. In the rare case of inclement weather, the event will be held inside the church’s Stacy Hall.

If a pet cannot be transported or is unable to attend, a photograph can be blessed instead. Children are welcome to bring stuffed animal toys for a blessing.

“These creatures are our companions and friends and we, as loving humans, can learn from them, especially when it comes to living in the moment," Rev. Day said.

"Our pets will never discuss their five-year plans, and they will never talk about how they regretted eating that last biscuit. They are here to remind us that we are alive now, to be awake and show us life and unconditional love," he said.

"We welcome all residents and visitors to join us in this celebration of the gift of the whole creation."

For more information, contact the church office, 688-4454 or visit www.SMITV.org.

— Laura Kath for St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley.

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