Friday, September 25, 2020

Faith Lutheran Church to host second annual ‘Blessing of the Animals’ event at Hartwell Farm

Jo Hartwell stands beside Koby,
her family's German Shepherd as he
receives a blessing from Rev. Jane
Field. This year all COVID
precautions and Maine mandates 
for outdoor events will be adhered
to during a 'Blessing of the Animals'
event at l Farm on Oct. 3. PHOTO

In honor of Saint Francis of Assisi whose feast day is in early October, Faith Lutheran Church is holding their second annual traditional Blessing of the Animals ceremony at the Hartwell Farm at 443 Sebago Lake Road in Gorham.

This special event will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3 (rain date is Oct. 4 at 11:30 a.m.).

St. Francis of Assisi was a 13th century Christian friar, deacon and preacher who was known for his love of animals and nature. He wrote a “Canticle of the Creatures,” an ode that includes the line, “All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures.”

He believed that human beings have a duty to protect and enjoy nature as both the stewards of creation and as creatures themselves. 

Churches around the world hold Blessing of the Animals ceremonies in honor of St. Francis. One of the most well-known and famous services has been held inside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City where elephants, camels and other animals from the Bronx Zoo proceed up the aisle to receive a blessing, along with farm livestock like horses and sheep, and the pets of parishioners. 

“Faith Lutheran is proud to participate in this tradition and offer it to the Lakes Region community,” said Faith Lutheran’s pastor, Rev. Jane Field. “We wish to recognize and protect all species and the glory of the Creator that they reveal.”

The Oct. 3 event at Hartwell Farm is open to the public and pet owners are invited to bring their creatures, great and small, to receive a special, personal blessing.

Dogs must be on a leash, cats in carriers, and smaller pets in cages or aquariums. For those who do not want to bring their pets but still wish to have them blessed, pictures of the animal will be welcomed too. Those wishing to trailer in larger animals are asked to send an email to in advance to ensure adequate parking.

Rev. Petra Smyth from Raymond Village Community Church will be co-officiating the event.

All COVID precautions and Maine CDC mandates for outdoor events will be adhered and all participants are asked to wear masks. <

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