St. Barnabas, Bethesda to hold joint animal blessing

Fr. Alex blesses a very comfortable Golden Retriever. 

An old priest once jokingly told me that if you really want to know who your best friend is, that you should lock your dog and your spouse in the trunk of your car, then leave them both there for about an hour. When you open the trunk, only one of them will be happy to see you! Then you’ll truly know who man’s best friend is.

Our pets bring tremendous joy to our lives and have many lessons to teach us about loyalty, friendship and unconditional love. That’s why the Church blesses and celebrates our companion animals each year around St. Francis Day.

St. Francis founded the Franciscan Order and was the first saint to receive stigmata, but is best remembered as the patron saint of animals. Pious legend holds that Francis once preached the gospel to birds who gathered around him. Another legend tells of a town tormented by a wolf who harassed the local livestock. Francis found the wolf in the nearby hills and addressed him as “brother.” He took the wolf into the town and made a pact with the townspeople: They would feed him regularly and he would stop attacking their herds. Finally, to the amazement of all present, Francis blessed the beast. To this day, statues of St. Francis often present him surrounded by birds with a wolf lying peacefully at his feet.

On Sunday, Oct. 7, at 2 p.m., parishioners from St. Barnabas Episcopal Church will gather with our Lutheran friends on the lawn at Bethesda on the Bay (28607 Wolf Road), along with our pets, for a joint blessing of the animals. All are welcome.

I have a Border Collie that joins me in the office at St. Barnabas on weekdays and can’t imagine life without a dog. She is a part of my family – just as your pets are part of yours. I take great joy in giving thanks for her love and asking God to continue blessing her each year.

Alexander Martin

Priest-in-Charge at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village

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Volume 10, Issue 19, Posted 9:54 AM, 10.02.2018