Reverend Don Walls blesses Arlo as his owner Ariel Louwrier, with son Benjamin and wife Lis, look on during Sunday’s Blessing of Animals Servuce held at St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church of Canada. Wolf Depner / News Staff

Saanich church blesses pets

Dogs woofed and cats meowed among the pews of St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church of Canada Sunday.

Dogs woofed and cats meowed among the pews of St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church Sunday during a special service honouring pets’ contributions to the emotional and spiritual well-being of humans.

“Pets, in a way, remind us of God,” said Reverend Daniel Fournier during his sermon. “Why do they remind us of God? Because pretty much no matter what, they are so loving, and they continue to love.”

The service draws inspirations from the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi. A Catholic friar, St. Francis founded several Catholic orders, and scholars consider him one of the most influential figures in Christendom thanks to his teachings around poverty and ecological conservation.

Considered the patron saint of animals, stories accord St. Francis a special relationship with animals, which hold a special place in Christian teachings.

The Bible describes Jesus as the Lamb of God and several biblical stories use animals to make large points about the treatment of the natural environment and the vulnerable, including animals, which St. Francis considered his brothers and sisters in spirit.

Considered the patron saint of animals, stories accord St. Francis a special relationship with animals, which hold a special place in Christian teachings.

The Bible describes Jesus as the Lamb of God and several biblical stories use animals to make large points about the treatment of the natural environment and the vulnerable, including animals, which St. Francis considered his brothers and sisters in spirit.

Accordingly, Catholic and Anglican churches like St. Luke have been holding ceremonies blessing animals around Oct. 4, Saint Francis of Assisi’s day of feast.

Rick Saville, sitting in the second row of pews, brought his nine-month-old golden retriever named Sirius.

Saville said he brought her because she is the newest member of the family. So is Sirius aware of what’s going around her? “Probably not all,” said Saville with a smile. “But she has enjoyed the people and other animals.”

Sitting next to Saville was Laureen Wright, who was visiting from St. Alberta, Alta., where she is involved with St. Albert United Church. While she did not bring an animal, she might bring the idea of an animal blessing back to her congregation. “We are always looking for innovative ideas to get people into our church,” she said. “I think it’s a lovely idea.”

While it wasn’t quite seven pairs of every kind, Fournier and his assistant Don Walls must have felt a little bit like Noah as they blessed several dogs, at least one cat and the bearded dragon that Greg Pratt had brought along with his two children, nine-year-old Josie and six-year-old Charlie.

The dragon named Max was undeniably the star of the morning as several children crowded around the animal after the service to see it up close.

Perhaps the most touching blessing though went to Lammy, the snow-white plush toy of 18-month-old Finn. With his eyes wide open, Finn seemed calm and genuinely amazed as Fournier blessed Finn’s favourite companion, while his mother Jenni Lewis cradled him in her arms.

After the service had ended, Fournier shook the hands of parishioners as they left the church.

“It was so nice to see the church full of pets today,” he said.

 

Reverend Daniel Fournier blesses Lammy as Finn, 1 1/2 years old, and his mother Jenni Lewis looks on during Sunday’s Blessing of Animals held at St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church of Canada. Wolf Depner / News Staff

Just Posted

Greater Victoria teachers experienced more than 30 incidents of violence from students in one month

Shuttered behavioural programs, lack of resources creates challenges for local schools

Esquimalt High robotics team heads to international competition

The Esquimalt Atom Smashers will participate in the FIRST Robotics Canada competition

Canadian alcohol policy gets failing grade from UVic researchers

Canadian provinces and territories collectively achieved less than half of their potential to reduce alcohol related harm

Island playoffs underway at Oak Bay High

Home team vies for fifth straight Island title

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read