Island pets were celebrated Saturday, Oct. 4, with a special pet blessing at St. Martin-in-the-Field Episcopal Church on Baseline Road.
Dogs, gerbils and a cat were blessed by the Rev. Earle King of St. Martin-in-the-Field Episcopal Church, who asked God to "fill the hearts of its owners with thanksgiving or its being."
Participants in the pet blessing made pet food donations as part of the event. Pet food drive organizer Paula Macrides organized the third annual ceremony. She said donated food goes to a local collection site, Fishers Friends Dog Daycare, to help a non-profit organization called Pets of the Homeless (www.petsofthehomeless.org). Homeless people with pets have been known to give what little food they have to their pets rather than eat it themselves. "The food is distributed for homeless right in the Buffalo area," Macrides said.
Before blessing the pets, King prayed, "Almighty God, all living creatures you have put under our protection and we are to care for them as you care for us. Mindful of the great responsibility you have placed upon us, we now renew our covenant with these creatures in our care, and pray that we may be faithful to them as you are faithful to us."
The pet blessing is held annually on the Saturday closest to the Feast of St. Francis, which this year happened to fall on Oct. 4.
King said St. Francis, the patron saint of animals, started the Order of Franciscans and was known as a man who took a vow of absolute poverty and gave up all earthly possessions.
"He famously said, 'Share the good news of Jesus Christ at all times, using words when necessary,' " King said.
Those who could not attend the Saturday event can call St. Martin's at 716-773-3335 to set up a drop-off of pet food, Macrides said.
Pearl meets Father Earle.
Pearl, owned by Denise Dunbar, greets The Rev. Earle King during a blessing Saturday. (photo by Larry Austin)