People brought their best friends to St. Philip’s Episcopal Church at 1072 80th Street in Dyker Heights for the for the annual blessing of the animals on Sunday, Oct. 7.
Pets of all shapes and colors were welcome at the special 10:30 a.m. mass which was presided over by Mother Suzanne Culhane, priest-in-charge.
Culhane, new to the neighborhood, was dressed in a green robe as she greeted guests and parishioners. Prior to the blessing of the animals, there was a dedication of a new statue of St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic saint who was born in the 12th century, and known for his love of animals.
“The annual Blessing of the Animals is a wonderful occasion on which to welcome all to St. Philip’s, as we give thanks for all of God’s creation, and the unconditional love expressed through our dear pets,” Culhane told this paper. “Our new St. Francis of Assisi statue and garden offer a wonderful place of prayer for the community throughout the year.”
According to Culhane and animal ministry coordinator Barbra Bongiardino, this was one of their most successful blessings at St. Philips. “We continue to do ministry work for our animal community all through the year,” Culhane added.
“Next up is our annual canned food drive which benefits the seniors at the Bay Ridge Center and their companion animals. We will have collection boxes at our church and throughout Bay Ridge until Nov. 18,” she said.
Immediately following mass guests and their pets were invited to enjoy a coffee hour.
All blessed pets received treats bags, St. Francis medals, a certificate of blessing and gifts.