Pets Welcome at Transitional Cathedral
All animals and pets are invited to the Transitional Cathedral this Sunday at 10am for a blessing service and to celebrate Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.
An annual event, the Animal Blessing Service is a time when the Cathedral bravely opens its doors and is “farm-yard friendly”. Anyone with an animal or pet can come and join in the excitement of many creatures all in one place, as long as they are on lead or in an appropriate container or cage.
The service will include joyful music about animals and the congregational songs will be well-known favourite hymns. In conjunction with SPCA, this is a chance to give thanks for the delight and love that pets and animals bring to our lives.
“We give thanks for the blessing of companionship that animals and pets provide, and for all that working animals do for the human race,” says Lawrence Kimberley, Dean of the Transitional Cathedral.
“It’s a delight to welcome all sorts of animals; dogs and cats, turtles and budgies, and more. It’s a great celebration and even the animals join in with the singing,” quips the Dean.
Owners don’t need to be embarrassed by any mess that might occur, as long as they clean it up, says the Dean.
The service, observed annually by the Cathedral, is held at this time of the year when many animals are starting to produce their young. It’s also near Saint Francis day (4 October). Probably one of the most well-known friars of history, Saint Francis had a strong affinity with animals and is famous for expressing his devotion to God through his care of animals. To him all creatures were worthy of care and could praise their God, the Creator, in their own way.
The service will be offered in that same spirit, and will also carry an animal welfare message.
“This is an opportunity to pray for animal welfare, especially for an end to mistreatment and neglect of animals,” says SPCA’s Christchurch centre representative, Kelsea Nelson-Cummins.
The Cathedral is glad to be supporting the work of SPCA who help to ensure that animals are given a nurturing home where they can thrive. Half of the collection that is taken up during the service will be given to support the good work of SPCA.
Dean Lawrence believes that for faith to be relevant in today’s society, it needs to reflect people’s daily lives.
“I worship a God who creates, loves and cares for all creatures, including our animals and pets. The love of our pets for us, and us for our pets, reflects the love that God has for us. By showing good stewardship towards our working and family animals, we are caring for God’s creation, says the Dean.
Both humans and animals will all receive a prayer of blessing before they leave the Cathedral.