Dozens of people grabbed their furry friends and made tracks to Peace Lutheran Church, Coon Rapids, for the 10th annual Blessing of the Animals event Sept. 29 in commemoration of St. Francis of Assisi.
After reading selected scripture from Genesis and Isaiah, Rev. Nancy Bence told those gathered, “We are here celebrating these animals that make our lives so rich and full. Thanks be to God for that.”
Following a benediction, humans were invited to carry or lead their pets forward for blessing and laying on of hands by Bence and Rev. Valerie Brown-Greenly.
Dozens of dogs and cats, a lizard and a hedgehog received blessing while their owners sang the gospel tunes “If I Were a Butterfly” and “Rise and Shine.”
After blessings, a crazy critter contest made every pet a winner with titles including most intelligent, best dressed, sweetest dog, prettiest coloring, bravest and more.
Later, a pet fashion show took to the “cat walk” and a reception with snacks for all species – human and animal – satisfied cravings of all kinds.
Bence had invited all animals to attend the “lively celebration of God’s creation” and in order to help homeless pets, donations of pet food and pet supplies were collected and given to the Animal Humane Society in Coon Rapids.
“Pets bring so much to our lives,” Bence said. “It only makes sense to bless them and to help pets without families, too.”
Sue Austreng is at