CHESTER, Vt. – On Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, at 9:30 a.m., St. Luke’s Episcopal Church – the gray church at 313 Main Street, a few doors west of the Fullerton Inn, in Chester, Vt. – will hold a Blessing of the Animals on its back lawn. Members of the public are invited to bring an animal with whom they live or work – or the photo of an animal about whom they care or are concerned. Participants should come a bit early to the service, which will start promptly at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 10 a.m., and bring a small lawn chair, if they need to sit, as well as a leash or restraint for their animal.
The pet blessing ceremony is in commemoration of St. Francis of Assisi, who was famous for preaching to a wolf which then spared the lives of those who would feed him, and for leading a simple life of poverty and charity that honored all creatures – a lifestyle still honored in the monastic orders that bear the Saint’s name. Blessing events traditionally take place on or closely after St. Francis Day, which is Oct. 4.
Immediately after the blessing, there will be a regular Eucharistic service of thanksgiving for creation inside the church sanctuary. All are welcome to attend the communion service and, since the weather will likely be cool, participants may safely house their animals in their vehicles. However, animals are also welcome to be with their owners inside the church to celebrate God’s love for all creation, if the animals are well-behaved and on leash or in a carrier.