Animal blessing draws pooches and owners to St. Martin’s church

By Sarah Brown

Lebanon Local

In celebration of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, which occurs every year on Oct. 4, people all over the world bring their animals to church.

From small lizards to large farm animals, no animal is turned away as they walk down the church aisle for a blessing and sprinkling of holy water.

REV. MELODIE KIMBALL, left, says a prayer for Hutch while Sara Jameson,
center, and owner Jim MacKenzie help steady the friendly pooch. Photos by Sarah Brown

That was pretty much the scenario Sunday, Oct. 6, as more than a dozen pets of Lebanon received blessings at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.

“Some of them do it in church. We’re just not quite so brave,” said the Rev. Melodie Kimball, who performed the service outside.

The small congregation sang songs praising God for his creations, and recited prayers thanking God for all his creatures. Then they lined up with their pets for a blessing.

Some time back, someone had brought their donkey for a blessing, but this year it was

A COUPLE OF CHICKENS are blessed with a prayer and sprinkle of holy water, while owner Patty Linn, of Halsey, left, watches.

just dogs and chickens, said Sara Jameson, who helped manage the animals during the blessing.

“We’re a small church in a small town, but in some places it’s a big  deal,” she said.

St. Francis is the patron saint of animals. Many Catholic and Anglican churches perform the blessing of the animals in honor of him.

In lieu of tithes for the church, St. Martin’s accepted donations for SafeHaven and Heartland Humane Society.