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Good Shepherd Catholic Church will host its annual “Blessing of the Animals” on Oct. 2. The event honors St. Francis of Assisi. CONTRIBUTED

Good Shepherd Catholic Church to host Blessing of the Animals

HUNTSVILLE – Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Huntsville will host its sixth annual “Blessing of the Animals” on Oct. 2.

The event honors the life and work of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. The service will open at 9 a.m. outdoors at the church in the Good Shepherd Pavilion.

The Blessing of the Animals is a traditional service that the church conducts near Oct. 4, which is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. To celebrate Francis’ love for all creatures, individuals bring animals to churches to receive a special blessing.

St. Francis believed that nature itself was the mirror of God and referred to all animals as his ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters.’ In 1223, St. Francis arranged for the first live nativity scene to celebrate Christmas. (en.wikipedia.org)

“In years past, we have welcomed a wide variety of animals, including turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs, dogs, cats and even a pet rooster,” Good Shepherd Youth Minister Meridith Sledd said. “This year, Father Tim Pfander and Deacon Paul Keil will lead a short service and bless all types of friendly pets or farm animals, such as horses or goats.”

“We invite members of the community to please bring pets on leashes or in carriers,” Sledd said.

 

Each year, the youth of Good Shepherd Middle School chooses a local animal organization to support with the Blessing of the Animals. “In 2021, we are collecting donations for A New Leash on Life, which is a non-profit organization with the goal of saving all of Alabama’s homeless animals by reducing the number of pets killed in shelters and by reducing the number of homeless pets on the streets in Alabama’s communities,” Sledd said.

Good Shepherd will accept donations of pet food, supplies and cash donations at the church office before the event. Individuals also can donate on Oct. 2 at the event. “Members of A New Leash on Life will be with us at the blessing to share information about their organization and show the animals that they currently have available for adoption,” Sledd said.

“We look forward to welcoming all members of our community with their pets or livestock and collecting donations to benefit A New Leash on Life,” Sledd said.

At its Madison location, A New Leash on Life completes dog and cat adoptions and operates its thrift store at 1300 Slaughter Road. The center is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Good Shepherd Catholic Church’s address is 13550 Chaney Thompson Road in Huntsville. The church conducts Mass on Saturdays (Vigil) at 5:30 p.m.; Sundays, 8:30 and 11 a.m.; and weekly Mass or Scripture and Communion, 8:30 a.m.

For more information, call 256-882-1844 or visit goodshephsv.org or Facebook/Good Shepherd Catholic Church.

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