The 10th annual Blessing of the Animals will be historic for The Church of the Holy Comforter.
The event will be held at the church's Furys Ferry Road property. Previously, it was held at the Memorial Gardens near the Columbia County Library.
"I'm really excited that we get to have it on our property for the first time," said the Rev. Cynthia Taylor. "This has been a dream long-coming."
The free service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the church at 473 Furys Ferry Road. It will be held on a green commons area next to the recently-constructed Parish Hall, which is being used as a temporary sanctuary.
"For us, it is sacred space," Taylor said, adding the area will be at the center of the church campus once the permanent sanctuary is built. "Especially along Furys Ferry Road, there is so much development going on. That (greenspace) becomes much more precious to hang on to."
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 some general prayers in thanksgiving of animals.
Taylor, an animal lover, said performing the service is one of her favorite tasks as leader of the church. Her two pet corgis, Jack and Kelsey, will be by her side during the service.
The ceremony also includes individual blessings for pets of all kinds, which usually includes asking for a long life, good health, shiny coat and wet nose.
"Most everybody wants an individual blessing," Taylor said, adding that every year she prays for recently deceased pets and those close to the end of their lives, as well as puppies and kittens. "It is the whole circle of life."
She's even blessed a few horses. "All animals are welcome," Taylor said. "When we say all creatures great and small, we mean it."
Taylor said dogs should be on leashes, cats in carriers, fish in bowls and horses on bridles. Treats for pets and their owners will be provided.
The event will continue into Sunday with a dog obedience and agility demonstration after the worship service at 11:30 a.m.
For information, call the church at (706) 210-1133.
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