As autumn arrives, people in the surrounding Ada neighborhood at 17th and Broadway may notice something rather odd happening at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
A procession of animals, everything from dogs to cats to birds to hamsters, and even a horse or two, are lead into their courtyard for a special ceremony called the Blessing of the Animals.
“It is a time-honored tradition at St. Luke’s to celebrate the feast of St. Francis on the Sunday closest to Oct. 4 (Francis’ official day) by thanking God, not only for the domestic pets that we so dearly love but for all creation, everything that runs, crawls, creeps, slithers, swims or swoops,” said The Rev. John Norvell, rector of St. Luke’s parish.
“We offer these prayers and blessings not only on behalf of the animals, but for their owners as well,” said Norvell. “The dominion that humans are given over animals and the whole created order in the book of Genesis is a weighty responsibility, and the blessing extends to all of us who care for the health and well-being of God’s creatures. We’ve blessed everything from parrots to tarantulas, and nothing is beyond the scope of being a good creation of God’s world.”
This year’s event takes place in the church’s courtyard at 17th and Broadway at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2. For the safety of visiting pets, leashes and/or pet carriers are required.