The Rev. Dr. Brett Cane from Saanichton performs a blessing for a pair of pups during 2017’s Blessing of the Animals. (File photo)

Blessing for furry friends

Outdoor service starts at 2 p.m.

On August 12, St. Stephen’s Anglican Church will once again host an interdenominational service that features the Blessing of the Animals.

It’s a custom that has roots in history dating back to the 13th century and the canonization of Saint Francis of Assisi, a Catholic friar, deacon and preacher who became associated with the patronage of animals and the natural world.

“It’s certainly not a new concept,” said Greg Robinson, a St. Stephen’s volunteer helping to organize the event.

“It’s an idea that’s been around for hundreds of years and dates back to a time when animals and agriculture were a much greater factor in everyday life.

For a community like ours where, agriculture is still very important, it’s a natural fit.”

As might be expected, of course, the animals brought to the outdoor service are predominately pets, and tend toward the expected dogs and cats, but some more exotic animals have also made an appearance in the past.

“We’ve had a llama, horses, a pet rat and even an ant farm. You really never know what animals will be brought to the service, and I suppose that’s part of the fun,” said Robinson.

The outdoor service will begin at 2 p.m. and will run, rain or shine. It will include music and prayers and each animal will receive a Personal Blessing and an Blessing Certificate.

And, although the animals tend to be pretty well-behaved (it is a church service, after all) owners are asked to bring animals in carriers or keep them on leashes.

The service is interdenominational and participating churches include Holy Trinity Anglican, Saanich Peninsula RC Parish (St. Elizabeth’s and Our Lady of Assumption), the Anglican Parish of Central Saanich (St. Mary’s and St. Stephen’s).

The collection for the day will be donated to the Pacific Animal Therapy Society (P.A.T.S.), an organization that utilizes volunteers and their pets to conduct visitations to community partners to bring a little joy to the lives of seniors, those in hospital and others.

St. Stephen’s is a natural location for an event rooted in history, given that it is a heritage site within the community. It is the oldest church in the Anglican Diocese of B.C. on its original site and in which service has been held continuously since 1862.

The church also has the distinction of having created a memorial garden for the cremated remains of family pets.

St. Stephen’s is located at 7921 St. Stephen Road, off Mt. Newton X Road.

Just Posted

Central Saanich pot farm now on hold

A smokescreen for opposition to legal pot, say some critics

Victoria Lavender owner set to retire

Sidney storefront to remain open, future of goat yoga undecided

Crash snarles traffic on Highway 17

Traffic southbound is seriously delayed and northbound down to one lane on… Continue reading

LETTERS: Lost purse takes B.C.-wide journey back to Victoria owner

How do we get the housing we need? The first completed home… Continue reading

Local and international artists paint murals across Victoria

Sixteen murals are spread out across downtown Victoria as part of the ‘concrete canvas’ project

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Authorities mull evacuation order for Zeballos

Smoke billowed from the steep hillsides of Zeballos on Friday evening, as… Continue reading

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Most Read