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Animal blessing set at local church

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People of all faiths can bring their pets to St. Mary’s Church grounds in North Vernon for the annual blessing of the animals.

The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. Friday outside the St. Mary’s Church Hall, 629 Clay St. Pets should be leashed and with their owners. The event is free.

The ancient ceremony is repeated around the world each year during the month of October in honor of the work of St. Francis of Assisi, who is known as the patron saint of animals, birds and the environment.

Blessing schedule

What: Blessing of the animals

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Outside the St. Mary’s Church Hall, 629 Clay St., North Vernon.

Notable: Pets should be leashed and with their owners. The event is free.

“St. Francis is known as a man who understood everything in God’s Creation is a blessing. God does not just love humans; his love is for of all his creation, creatures and nature as well,” said the Rev. Jonathan Meyer, pastor of St. Mary’s Church.

Meyer will perform the ceremony.

“I read a prayer over each of the animals that come to the ceremony, and then I sprinkle Holy Water on each of them. It is very simple and nice,” Meyer said.

The blessing is not just for dogs and cats, he added.

“You can bring your birds, goats and cows if you like. The blessing is a symbol of our love for the animals just as God loves them and us,” Meyer said.

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