Good Shepherd Lutheran Church holds annual pet blessing event

It was another day to give thanks to people’s furry friends.

On Sunday, October 8, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 7420 Fourth Avenue, held its annual Blessing of the Animals event.

Several attendees brought their beloved pets to the venue to receive God’s blessing.

“It went very well,” said Reverand H. Gaylon Barker, who blessed the animals. “It’s always been very well received. Unfortunately, this year the celebration took place on the weekend of Columbus Day and a lot of the community was away so the number of people that were there was smaller than usual. But it’s become such an important part of the community. We had a request from a family who couldn’t be here that weekend because they were out of town [to bring] their bird this past Sunday so we could bless it, so we did that.”


The Reverend also explained why attendees look forward to the event each year.

“We care so much for our pets so this is another way to lift that up,” he said. “Some people don’t go to church but they see this as important and as something that shows the value pets have — that they are valued and important members of their families — so it’s one way to celebrate that. This year, we just had dogs, but in the past we’ve had cats. Sometimes people bring pictures of their pets to have blessed, as well.”

He also discussed the history of the act.

“The tradition itself goes back a long time,” he told this paper, noting that the act is associated with St. Francis of Assisi who, for centuries, has been identified as a saint on the Roman Catholic Calendar. “The emphasis on saints was marginalized. But what we’ve seen in recent years is more of an attention to certain aspects of the Blessing of the Animals which Good Shepherd has been doing for a number of years.”

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