Blessing of the animals
St. Francis of Assisi, born Oct. 3, 1226, is known for his devotion to animals, so around the world many churches hold a "Blessing of the Animals" in his honor around this date. The Congregational Church in Boothbay Harbor did just that on Sunday, Oct. 7.
It was spitting rain all morning and then approached the time of the ceremony with no cars in sight, so it looked like maybe the blessing would be a wash. Then minutes before the scheduled start, cars poured into the parking lot and dogs of all shapes, sizes and colors began jumping out. They came surging up the incline dragging their masters behind them, filled with enthusiasm and the excitement of meeting other four-legged friends.
Yipping and barking ensued. Lots of yipping, barking and lots of laughter ensued. This was going to be a happy occasion
Trixie, a found terrier, Kiwi, a Jack Russell, Kerry, a toy poodle, Cacca, a Schnoodle, HarleE, a black lab, Milo, a rescue-mix from South Carolina, Mattie, a Brittany, Sophie, a Bracco Italiano, Murphy, a Deutsche Bracke, were there. I counted 12 dogs, but counting was hard.
The gathering tried to quiet down as Rev. Sarah Foulger appeared and spoke these opening words by Meister Eckhart: "Every creature is a word for God." Next was a prayer read in unison, dogs included, followed by passages from the book of Psalms and Genesis from Foulger.
Then came the endearing blessing. Pet owners were instructed to lay a hand on their pet while Foulger gave the following prayer: "As God has blessed you with these pets, so may they be blessed by your love and care. And the blessing of Eternal God, Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit be with you now and forever. Amen."
There was hardly a dry eye in the crowd.
Finally, there was the animal communion of milk bones and it was over.