St. Thomas’ witnessed that on Sunday, October 5th at its annual Pet Blessing. The Pet Blessing is widely celebrated in churches of many denominations, including our own Episcopal Diocese of Texas. The event marks The Feast of St. Francis—October 4th—a man remembered for his deep affection for animals. St. Thomas’ version had dozens of animals and many adults and children out on its soccer field.
The event began with a short worship service with readings emphasizing God’s creation. After the service, the owners and their pets were invited to have individual blessings from rector David Browder and associate rector Mathew Fenlon (who brought his dog Jersey). While most of the animals were dogs, there were also cats, a bird, and half a dozen stuffed animals.
A pet costume contest featured such creative outfits as Snow White, the Grinch, a fighter pilot, and a bride and groom. While a talent was not a requirement, a number of dogs showed off some of their tricks.
During the contest, the human part of the crowd enjoyed snow cones and popcorn. A bounce house and balloons twisted in funny shapes provided further entertainment for the kids. Adults had the opportunity to visit with a number of shelters and a pet store. The event concluded with a performance by the school’s Pipe Band.
One of the pet owners told us why he loves the pet blessing: “An event like this builds community. I recognize people who live in the neighborhood that came last year. I notice how many children are looking for their classmates, and how much parents are eager to catch up with one another.”