In honor of the patron saint of animals, a Martinez church is inviting animal lovers to bring their pets to the Columbia County Amphitheater and Memorial Gardens on Saturday for a special blessing.
The Rev. Cynthia Taylor will lead The Church of the Holy Comforter's ninth annual Blessing of the Animals at 10 a.m. behind the Columbia County Library in Evans.
The service celebrates animals as God's creatures in honor of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Catholic patron saint of animals and ecology. The service will include prayers in thanksgiving of animals.
Additional services for animal blessings will be held at 3 p.m. Oct. 5 at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, and during the county's Animania pet festival Oct. 25 in Evans.
Taylor said she's an animal lover who will have her faithful Welsh corgi, Jack, at her side during Saturday's service. But she was particularly excited the past two years, when she was able to bless a horse.
"It thrilled me. We've always said this would be a service for all creatures great and small," Taylor said. "I have blessed guinea pigs and hamsters. It was nice to bless some of the greater animals, greater in size. So that was pretty cool."
Each year, the church highlights a humane society or pet organization. This year, the Columbia County Humane Society will have information and possibly pets for adoption at the event.
"Because we give thanks to the work that they do," Taylor said.
She said dogs should be on leashes, though not the retractable kind. Treats will be available for pets and their owners.
For information, call the church at (706) 210-1133.
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