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Blessing of the Animals ceremony held at local church

Posted: October 7, 2013 5:21 p.m.
Updated: October 7, 2013 5:21 p.m.

The Rev. Kelly O'Connell of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church blesses dogs Honey (left) and Shelby, pictured here in front of their respective owners Monica Foster and Shari Schlaman (far right), in a special Blessing of the Animals service Sunday. Signal photo by Jim Holt

SANTA CLARITA - Every dog has its day, so the saying goes, but Sunday was it for more than a dozen local canines — big and small, shaggy and not — who were blessed at an annual ceremony at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

Not to be outdone, felines were also blessed during the church’s annual Blessing of the Animals outdoor service. So were at least one rabbit and one bearded dragon.

Several pet owners held up cell phone images of their pets they couldn’t or didn’t bring with them. Many of the beloved pets, however, waited patiently at the end of their leashes or in carry cases.

“He always gets this blessing,” said Monica Foster as she patted her dog, Honey.

After a white-robed choir sang the hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” the Rev. Kelly O’Connell invited pet owners to join her at the outdoor alter for the blessing.

One of those who ran up to the podium was a pre-schooler named Lawrence who brought his “bunny” named Hershey to be blessed. He told the reverend he’s had the pet rabbit for only five months.

“Well, let’s say a blessing upon Hershey,” O’Connell said. “Gracious and holy God, we give you thanks for all the pets that share our lives — in their various forms, those that have scales and those that have long ears and those that crawl and those that hop.

“We ask for your special blessing this day for Mooshu (the bearded dragon) and Hershey and that they have long lives and be faithful companions for their owners.”

“I’m not going to sprinkle the bearded dragon because they don’t like water,” she said.

About 50 parishioners gathered in the church’s courtyard, many of holding their pets on their laps waiting for the chance to have them blessed.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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