Blessing of the animals

Photo by Siena College.

East County Shared Ministry extends an invitation to bring your pets to church Sunday, Oct. 14, at 10 a.m., for the annual Blessing of the Animals.

The service will be held in the facility’s social hall at 200 E. Leland Road, in Pittsburg. All critters are welcome as long as they are leashed, caged or otherwise safely secured.

This annual event is always held in the social hall, where tile floors offer a more pet-friendly environment. A fellowship time will follow worship with refreshments for the humans, who are encouraged to bring treats for their pets.

This tradition is an international one and honors St. Francis of Assisi, whose love of nature and all creation sparked the custom 800 years ago. The event here has become a happy and meaningful one for those whose pets are truly family members.

“Pets are an important part of life for many folks,” said Rev. Will McGarvey, co-pastor. “More than companions, they offer a significant benefit in therapy programs for the elderly, for children and for those with major health challenges.”

From “Old Yeller” and “Babe” to “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Dr. Dolittle,” pets are widely acknowledged for their companionship, intelligence, emotional support and ability to reduce stress and loneliness as well as increase social interaction and self-esteem.

So pack up your fur baby and join the celebration on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 10 a.m., and honor our furry, spiky, slimy, feathery and scaly friends, great and small.

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