Paradise Valley residents, family pets invited to Blessing of the Animals

Families and pets gather as the animals are given a blessing (submitted photo)

Ascension Lutheran Church’s annual special ceremony, Blessing of the Animals, will take place 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 7.

This celebration kicks off a month-long drive to collect pet food and cat litter for the clients of Lutheran Social Services and provide them with the opportunity to keep their beloved pets, according to a press release.

Aging and Disability Services, a program of Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, provides assistance for seniors and persons with disabilities to promote dignity, quality of life and independence.

Ron Smith, Mickey, Tom Mueller, Minion (submitted photo)

Any kind of cat and dog food will be welcome at this year’s Blessing of the Animals. Lutheran Social Services will make sure it gets appropriately distributed, the press release stated.

The custom of blessing animals is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures. St. Francis, whose feast day is Oct. 4, wrote a Canticle of the Creatures, an ode to God’s living things.

The proud owners of household pets and even stuffed animals bring each of them forward to be blessed by name.

Rev. Paul Campbell, interim pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church, presides at the ceremony and interacts with each of the pets. The various types of animals seem to enjoy the opportunity to observe and meet other species in a safe environment with their owners close at hand.

All God’s creatures from the community are invited to bring their special humans to this special service in the sanctuary of the church.

The church asks that pets wear their finest leash or is inside their favorite cage.

Ascension Lutheran Church is at 7100 N. Mockingbird Lane in Paradise Valley.

For more information call 480-948-6050 or visit ascensionparadisevalley.org.

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