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Blessing of the Animals: All Souls Episcopal and Messiah Lutheran to hold joint service Saturday

October 18, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The All Souls Episcopal and Messiah Lutheran churches will hold a joint service for the annual Blessing of the Animals at All Souls Church at 2 p.m. Saturday, and creatures great or small are welcome.

Jane Mathis, public relations person at All Souls, said it's the fifth year the church has celebrated the blessing ceremony. Father David Jackson will conduct the service, which most Episcopal churches and many Christian and Anglican denominations hold nationwide in celebration of the feast of St. Francis.

"Generally, people bring cats and dogs, but if they have another pet, they can bring that as well," Mathis said. "For many older people who are alone, their pet is their whole life."

The blessing of the animals got started in the 12th or 13th century with St. Francis of Assisi, who had a fondness for animals, many of whom worked the fields.

"People would bring their donkeys or whatever they had in those days, and he would bless them for another good year of service from them," Mathis said. "Some people have his statue in their yard as a way to honor pets. He's remembered for the joy pets bring to our lives, especially old people."

The service will include music, prayer and readings, and all animals will be blessed with holy water, after which they will all receive a blessing certificate to commemorate the event.

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Light refreshments will be served, and donations for the Animal Refuge Center will be accepted.

All Souls Church is at 14640 N. Cleveland Ave.

For more information, call the church at 997-7685 or go to



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