Dozens of four-legged parishioners visited St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church on Baseline Road recently for pet blessings.
Rev. Earle King blessed dozens of dogs and a couple of cats, asking God to fill the hearts of their owners with thanksgiving for their being. Episcopal churches across Western New York offered pet blessings during the first weekend of October. At St. Martin's, the event took place three days before the Oct. 4 feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment.
As if on cue, dogs barked and howled as Rev. King of St. Martin's led the assembled in singing the hymn "All Things Bright and Beautiful." King then led a prayer that thanked God "for making the animals to brighten our lives. Help us to save them from danger as Noah did. Help us to love them and care for them as St. Francis did. And when we see the animals that you have made, help us to remember that You are holy and worthy of praise."
"Almighty God, all living creatures you have put under our protection, and we are to care for them as You care for us," King said. "May the God of the new covenant of Jesus Christ grant us grace to fulfill our promises and to show mercy to other creatures as God has shown mercy to us."
Paula Macrides, organizer of the event, said donations of pet food would be collected at St. Martin's for donation to Fisher's Friends Dog Daycare of Snyder. The organization collects food for pets of the homeless. Macrides said the homeless will often sacrifice their own food to feed their pets. Those who were not able to attend Saturday's pet blessing and who would like to donate pet food can go online at www.fishersfriends.com to find contact information.