HOUSTON — People from all walks of life are invited to bring their pets to Bellaire United Methodist Church for the tenth annual Blessing of the Animals.
This is a free, family-friendly event that is open to the public. It takes place Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the front lawn of Bellaire United Methodist Church at 4417 Bellaire Boulevard.
The ceremony will begin with an opening prayer followed with a homily and group blessing by the pastors. After the brief service, individual blessing can be given to each pet.
The church will also have a photographer available so pet owners can have a free digital photo of their pet's individual blessing.
"God has blessed us with pets of all species, shapes and sizes. These pets are our constant companions and they provide us with unconditional love," Sr. Pastor Seann Duffins said. "We want the community to join us as we celebrate, honor and bless the wonderful pets we hold so dear."
Blessing of the Animals is a religious tradition recognized across the world in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, who started the practice about 800 years ago. It's usually celebrated in early October.
The church said pets who attend should be well-behaved around other animals and humans.
They also ask that dogs be kept on a leash, cats in protective carriers, birds and other small mammals in cages and various amphibians and reptiles in terrariums — same goes for insects and arthropods.
“Every year more people from the community come out to join us on this joyous occasion," Assoc. Pastor Lataya Simpson said. "We're thrilled to have the opportunity to share this special message with such a pet-loving community."