West Seattle, Washington
This was announced long before five people were shot and killed last night in Burlington, just an hour north of here, but it’s suddenly and tragically all the more timely: Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor) in West Seattle is participating in tomorrow’s Concert Across America to End Gun Violence. Here’s the church’s announcement from early September:
On September 25th there is a nationwide series of live concerts brought together by social media. Please join us at Tibbetts United Methodist Church [3 pm Sunday] as we take part in this important event, and experience the power of music to heal and inspire in the midst of the terrible epidemic of gun violence in our country.
One of the featured musical groups at the concert at Tibbetts will be West Seattle’s own Christy McWilson and the West Seattle 2, along with Seattle Flash Choir, “Lady A,” Pacific Northwest Blues Diva, Tibbetts United Methodist Church Choir.
At the end of the concert, all performers and the audience will join in singing two specially-selected songs together.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 30, 2016
Someone will have a roof over their head soon, thanks to volunteers and donors at Peace Lutheran Church, carrying out an idea from the church’s most recent confirmation class (14- and 15-year-olds). Today is the second of four days that they’re spending building a “tiny house” to be donated to the Low-Income Housing Institute.
One of the youth who came up with the idea, Katharine, told us that $2,200 was raised to buy the materials through a deal LIHI has with Home Depot. Now they have the kit and are assembling it right outside the church in Gatewood, also supported by a $250 grant from Thrivent that funded items like gloves, food for volunteers, and even the T-shirts they’re wearing.
Which of the city-sanctioned camps managed by LIHI will get it, that’s up to LIHI, the Peace Lutheran volunteers say; the nonprofit will pick it up once it’s ready to go sometime Monday.
(Photo courtesy WSCC)
Another local faith community is hosting a celebration of longtime leaders who are about to retire. From West Seattle Christian Church in The Junction:
West Seattle Christian Church invites the community to celebrate Alan and Lois Gardner’s retirement on June 26th in the church’s Activity Center. Since the 1970s they have been a special part of the West Seattle community and the church. Alan served first as Minister of Christian Education and later as Preaching Minister. Lois (aka “Mrs. Gardner”) is beloved by her former preschool and kindergarten students at West Seattle Christian School. They’ve touched so many. Please join in honoring them. The service is at 9:30 am Sunday and there will be a social time after the service.
The church and Activity Center are at 4400 42nd SW.
(Photos courtesy West Side Presbyterian Church)
West Side Presbyterian Church is announcing the retirement of its senior pastor – who will be preaching just a few more Sundays – and inviting the community to a celebration:
June 12th will mark the end of 45 years of service and vocational ministry for Dr. Paul R. Smith of West Seattle. He has been the senior pastor at West Side Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) since 1981, when he moved with his family from Pennsylvania to Seattle.
In the 35 years since arriving in the NW, he has served as the senior pastor of West Side Presbyterian Church. A recent tally showed he had officiated 180 wedding ceremonies, led 256 memorial services, and baptized more than 430 children and adults. He has also been active in renewal ministries with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has served the church both locally and nationally in promoting and equipping churches for evangelism.
Born November 25, 1945, Paul is the son of a banker and one of six children. He grew up in a small ranching town in Western South Dakota near Badlands National Park. He graduated with honors from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, before marrying his wife, Carreen Armerding and earning an MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, MA,
For the first ten years of his ministry, Dr. Smith served as Assistant Pastor and then Senior Pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in McKeesport, PA.
He completed his Doctorate of Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School shortly after arriving in Seattle. And in the years since, he’s written four books: Jesus, Meet him again for the First Time; Close Encounters: Knowing the Savior; Enjoying God Forever; God’s Plan for our Good. He has also traveled extensively throughout Israel and Jordan and has co-led a half-dozen tours, in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, and Greece.
Paul and his wife, Carreen are the parents of four children: Lucian, Taleigh, Lindsay, and Miriam, and grandparents of seven.
Following retirement, and a long-awaited trip to Africa, the Smiths will return to Seattle, where Paul plans to continue his writing and looks forward to spending more time with his family and grandchildren.
A retirement celebration for Dr. Paul Smith will be held:
June 12, Open House 1:00-4:00
(Special program begins at 2:00)
West Side Presbyterian Church
3601 California Avenue SW
The public is welcome.
More information about the celebration is on the WSPC website.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
So far this election year, you probably haven’t heard much about anything beyond the top of the ticket – where our country will be electing a new president.
But many other key, if not necessarily glamorous, offices will be on the ticket too, and that’s what dominated last night’s endorsement meeting for our area’s largest political group, the 34th District Democrats.
Some of the candidates were there to make their pitches, starting with Lieutenant Governor:
That’s State Sen. Cyrus Habib, who won the 34th Dems’ endorsement on a second ballot, after getting 57 percent on the first ballot, with the rest split between Sen. Karen Fraser and Rep. Jim Moeller. The group’s rules require 60 percent for an endorsement. Sen. Fraser spoke first, describing herself as a “loyal trouper Democrat.” Sen. Habib then spoke, saying he thinks the Lieutenant Governor should be “more than fair and responsible … should be a force for progressive change.” He also said he hopes to be the first Middle Eastern-American anywhere in the country elected to state office. He received 62 percent on the second ballot. Rep. Moeller was not present.
STATE AUDITOR: This race also went to a second ballot.
For the second consecutive evening, a lighting ceremony in The Junction. Tonight, it was in celebration of the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, as Rabbi Zari Weiss and members from West Seattle synagogue Kol HaNeshamah sang songs and blessings and lit the menorah’s first candle.
Passers-by were invited to join the festivities, with song sheets handed out:
Hanukkah traditions were on display too – the spinning tops called dreidels, and gelt, gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins:
Kol HaNeshamah has even-bigger Hanukkah celebrations coming up at their place of worship, which is co-housed with Alki UCC at 6115 SW Hinds – candlelighting on Tuesday and a party on Saturday (more info on the KHN website), followed by an event you might already have seen in our West Seattle Holiday Guide – a “FRED Talk” at 8 pm with storyteller Merna Hecht.
After the early rush of about 300 people, turkeys and bags of groceries are still available, with no line, outside Eastridge Church as its pre-Thanksgiving giveaway continues at 39th SW & SW Oregon. This year, warm clothing is being offered too:
The church does this every year at both of its campuses (the other one is in Issaquah), 13th year in all. We also found Girl Scout Troop 42553 volunteering:
No proof of need is required at the Eastridge event, which is happening this morning only, while supplies last.
(WSB photos by Katie Meyer)
Every year, St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Admiral invites pets and their people to an open, public “Blessing of the Animals” event, a tradition for many churches in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, and today was the day. St. John’s new priest-in-charge Rev. Michael Carroccino and Brother Paul Dahlke from the Order of Saint Francis were in the neighboring West Seattle High School parking lot for all who showed up.
Most of the pets brought for blessings were dogs … but we also spotted Olive the cat:
As explained on the event flyer, “Today we thank God for the gifts of companionship and beauty which animals and pets bring to our lives and homes, and ask God’s blessing on them.”
Blessings are usually offered this time each fall as it coincides with the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals:
At least two other West Seattle congregations offered Blessing of the Animals events today; another is still ahead, next Sunday (October 11th) at 10:30 am at Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Gatewood (thanks to Sue for the tip).
The first Sunday of October usually brings “Blessing of the Animals” events in honor of St. Francis of Assisi‘s feast day. We’ve received word of two:
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH: Local Franciscans are usually part of this one:
The church shares the photo and reminder (if you haven’t already seen it in our calendar):
All Things Bright and Beautiful
All are invited to bring your pet or pets for St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church’s annual community-wide St. Francis’ Day Blessing of the Animals, this Sunday, October 4, at 1:00 p.m. on the West Seattle High School parking lot.
That’s at 3000 California SW (just north of the church).
PROVIDENCE MOUNT ST. VINCENT: At the same time – 1 pm Sunday – The Mount and its Spiritual Care Department is sponsoring a blessing in honor of St. Francis, at Pigott Chapel, on the building’s third floor. “All pets are welcome. People may bring photos of their pets, too.” The Mount is at 4831 35th SW.
Another West Seattle church has just announced new leadership. Here’s the announcement from Fauntleroy Church:
A quorum of members voted unanimously Sept. 20 to select Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski as senior minister of Fauntleroy Church UCC. The 335-member congregation has been engaged in a nationwide search for new pastoral leadership since Rev. Dr. David Kratz retired in January 2013.
“Rev. Bilinski comes to us with a wealth of experience in preaching, youth programs, service and outreach, pastoral care, and administration,” said Sarah Finney, moderator of the congregation. “We know Leah will be a wonderful addition to our church and to the wider community.”
When asked why she had applied, Rev. Bilinski said she has longed to serve what she found at Fauntleroy Church – “a well-engaged, thoughtful, and very aware congregation.”
An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, Rev. Bilinski received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology alongside an elementary teaching certificate from Grinnell College in 1999, then a masters of divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in 2007. Her experience includes six years as copastor at St. Peter’s UCC in Washington, MO, and four months as acting pastor of Ebenezer “Stone Church” UCC in Gerald, MO. She has also had leadership and administrative roles in UCC youth programs and chaplaincy experience in hospital and elder settings.
She currently lives with her husband and two-year-old daughter in Washington, MO, southwest of St. Louis, and will move to West Seattle to start her new pastorate on Nov. 29, the first Sunday of Advent.
SIDE NOTE: One of the church’s most popular community events, the twice-yearly Recycle Roundup, is coming up this Sunday (September 27th), 9 am-3 pm, in the lot outside the church at 9140 California SW; our recent preview includes information on what can and can’t be dropped off for recycling, for free.
More community-volunteer TLC for Sanislo Elementary. Principal Bruce Rhodes shares the photos and report:
City Serve West Seattle, a group of West Seattle churches, partnered to beautify Sanislo Elementary School. The churches came Saturday, August 1st, and painted the kindergarten areas, the hallways, and the gym in bright yellow.
Additionally, the group completed cleaning up the grounds work!
Bruce Rhodes, Principal, and the Staff and Students at Sanislo are appreciative of the gift that City Serve has given to make our school a more pleasant place to learn.
This was one of four locations around West Seattle visited by church volunteers from the City Serve group that day. (We would be happy to add information crediting the full list of participating churches if someone directly involved e-mails us – email@example.com – thanks!)
ADDED TUESDAY: Thanks to Kathie for adding that list in comments:
Over 200 people volunteered from 10 West Seattle area churches at Roxhill and Sanislo Elementary Schools, White Center Food Bank and the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. Faith Communities involved were: All Souls, Bethany West Seattle, Grace Church, Hope Lutheran, New City Church, Skate Church, Trinity West Seattle, Union Gospel Mission, West Side Presbyterian, and Young Life West Seattle.
From St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church‘s new priest-in-charge Rev. Michael Carroccino:
One week later, Prayers for Mother Emanuel
Saint John the Baptist Episcopal Church invites you to join them for Evening Prayer and Communion this Wednesday night as they remember in prayer the victims of the shootings in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, and their families. Offerings will be designated for the Lowcountry Ministries – Evelyn Pinckney Fund. 6:30 PM Wednesday, June 24, at Saint John the Baptist Episcopal Church, 3050 California Ave SW.
The biggest party on Gatewood Hill tonight is at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation church at California/Othello – in honor of Rev. Peg Boyle Morgan (above), who’s retiring after 13 years. The party includes a lasagna dinner …
… and marimba music:
Rev. Morgan’s tenure with WSUU included its purchase of, renovation of, and move five years ago into the Gatewood church building, a home of its own after two decades of meeting in rented space. WSUU will welcome an interim minister, Rev. Beatrice Hitchcock, in August; she’s coming from the same role with a congregation in Anchorage, Alaska. But first, Rev. Morgan will preside at tomorrow’s 10:30 am service, at which she’ll be formally installed as WSUU’s Minister Emerita and will share her “best hopes for Westside’s future.”
By Patrick Sand and Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
We are here not to walk on the water, but to walk on the Earth.
That was the heart of a quotation offered by Our Lady of Guadalupe pastor Father Jack Walmesley as he welcomed more than 150 people to an interfaith gathering last night, “Praised Be,” celebrating the encyclical letter on the environment, “Laudato Si,” issued earlier in the day by Pope Francis, which begins:
1. “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.
2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters. …
Underscoring that the Earth should be cared for on behalf of future generations as well as ours – it is described in the encyclical’s subtitle as “our common home” – a copy of the Pope’s message was carried into the church by OLG sixth-grader Emily Amesquita (top photo).
OLG parishioners Dan and Robyn Campbell, introduced as committed environmentalists, talked about losing a tree in their yard and having to answer their three-year-old’s question about where the squirrels would live.
They built a little house for the squirrels, they explained, saying it was a “teaching moment,” helping them to instill in their children a reverence for the Earth and how we must all take care of it.
Father Walmesley also spoke of understanding “the breath of God,” not just how it is experienced on Earth but how scientists have seen through the Hubble Telescope and in other ways that it is alive in the galaxies and stars whose light reaches us now from across seemingly endless space. We’re here, he said, to understand the complexity of the world that St. Francis of Assisi understood and that Pope Francis has called all people to understand now.
Those in attendance also heard from Dr. Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, director of the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture at Seattle University.
She spoke about the theology of the encyclical and how it applies to daily life.
Then Emily carried the encyclical out of the church, as people followed, invited to stay and learn more about living sustainably
Before the service, visitors were invited to see and consider the sustainability-focused features of OLG’s 3-year-old Parish Life Center.
In our photo under some of the center’s solar panels are, from left, visiting Father Thomas J. Marti; LeeAnne Beres of Earth Ministry; the center’s architect Richard Glasman; OLG pastoral assistant Frank Handler; and Jessie Dye of Earth Ministry, who also had spoken during the service. (Earth Ministry’s mission is “inspiring and mobilizing the religious community to play a leadership role in building a just and sustainable future.”)
WHAT NOW? The back of the event program offered advice for “taking action on Laudato Si,” listing simple lifestyle changes such as:
Eating lower on the food chain
Walking or taking the bus more often
Changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs
Insulating or installing solar on our homes and parishes
Purchasing used items
Not buying toxic cleaning or lawn products
Generally using fewer resources
P.S. The encyclical, the second by Pope Francis, was written in Italian but can be read in English here.
Tomorrow, worldwide news will be made by a major statement expected from Pope Francis, about the environment and climate change (some of it’s already been leaked). Then tomorrow night, Seattle-area Catholics will follow it up with an event here in West Seattle. The announcement:
Pope Francis’ much anticipated encyclical on the environment will be celebrated at a 7 p.m. service Thursday, June 18, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 7100 35th Ave. SW.
All are invited to the 7 p.m. service to gather with local Catholic, ecumenical, and environmental leaders to honor Pope Francis’ call to protect the Earth. Speakers include:
· Fr. Jack Walmesley, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Parish
· Dr. Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, director of the Institute of Catholic Thought and Culture at Seattle University
· Dan and Robyn Campbell, parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe
· Jessie Dye, program & outreach director of Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light
There will also be the opportunity for a tour of the parish grounds, which feature solar panels, a children’s solar kiosk, a rain garden, a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat peace garden, green buildings, and other energy-saving measures that have made the parish a leader in environmental sustainability.
Background: On the morning of June 18 in Rome, the Vatican will release the first comprehensive Catholic moral statement on caring for creation in the face of climate change. The pope’s encyclical, titled “Praised Be” (or Laudato Sii in Latin), is expected to make three key points: 1) Catholic teaching calls for protecting God’s creation; 2) humans cause climate change, which is a serious moral issue; and 3) the time to act is now – specific personal and public policy measures are needed to address global warming.
The encyclical will explicitly name climate change as one of the greatest threats to life on Earth, which poses particular challenges here in the Pacific Northwest where glaciers are melting, drought and forest fires are intensifying, and fossil fuel projects threaten Native American and other communities.
“’Praised Be,’ a call from Pope Francis to inspire us to care for creation, will resonate with Catholics throughout the region,” predicts Father Jack Walmesley, Our Lady of Guadalupe pastor.
All are invited to the event at OLG – more info here.
Thanks to the Holy Rosary parishioner who forwarded us the announcement made by the Archdiocese: A new pastor has been chosen to succeed Father John Madigan, who is departing after a decade. Father Matthew Oakland will come to Holy Rosary from St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Camas and Our Lady Star of the Sea Mission in Stevenson, both east of Vancouver, Washington. He is scheduled to start here on July 1st (here’s how he told his parishioners of his departure). Holy Rosary plans a farewell party for Father Madigan in its school gym on Sunday, June 28th, starting after 10:30 am Mass and continuing until 3:30 pm.
We’re welcoming First Lutheran Church of West Seattle as a new WSB sponsor. Here’s what they would like you to know about who they are and what they do:
We are a Lutheran church that has been on the corner of California Ave. SW & SW Dakota St. for close to a hundred years – established in 1918. We don’t go in for gimmicks or the newly popular ways of modern Christianity. Our church is a historical Lutheran congregation which holds to the glorious Christian heritage that has been handed down through the centuries in our worship, theology, and rich tradition in church music.
We are also big champions of our community. We regularly give food and money to the West Seattle Food Bank. Our pastor has been on the board since 1996. He has recently written a history of the food bank for its 30th anniversary. We also are a big supporter of the West Seattle Helpline – which our congregation helped establish back in 1989. Each December we host the St. Nicholas Faire, which raises money for both the West Seattle Food Bank and Helpline. Helping our neighbors in need means a lot to us.
We are also a house of studies – working on the Biblical message every week in classes; reading regularly from Martin Luther’s vast body of writings from the sixteenth century; studying the Qur’an of Islam in order to better understand our geo-political situation; and taking up other discussions involving contemporary social issues.
At the center of our life together is worship on Sundays. This is our time to praise God for the gift of his Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, as revealed to us in the Holy Bible and preserved in the liturgies of the historical Christian Church. Everyone is always welcome to join us and we look forward to seeing you and getting acquainted. If you have any questions, check out our website or give us a call – 206-935-6530.
We thank First Lutheran Church of West Seattle for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Admiral Congregational Church is formally introducing its new pastor, who is already leading worship services there, though his ordination is set for just after New Year’s and his formal installation in the spring. Here’s the announcement the church is sharing with the community:
The oldest church in West Seattle has recently called Andrew Conley-Holcom as its new pastor. Admiral Congregational United Church of Christ, located in North Admiral, was founded in 1899 as the West Seattle Congregational Church. Pastor Andrew, in his early thirties and a recent graduate of Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, is the youngest pastor that Admiral has ever called.
The congregation voted to accept its Search Committee’s unanimous recommendation to call Andrew in mid-October, and he has been leading worship services since October 19th. He will be ordained on January 3, 2015 at his home church, First Congregational Church of Bellingham, and will be formally installed as Admiral’s pastor in the spring.
Andrew and his wife, Leann (church-provided photo, above right), are originally from the Tacoma area and currently reside in the Ravenna neighborhood. Leann is active as a professional singer, directs the Concert Choir of the Tacoma Youth Chorus, and is a doctoral candidate in choral conducting at the University of Washington.
Those are a few of the people who served the hundreds lining up along 39th SW this morning, giving the gifts Eastridge Church offers before Thanksgiving every year – turkeys and bags of groceries for holiday meals. This year, between their West Seattle and Issaquah campuses, Eastridge planned to give out 1,500 turkeys – that’s quite the logistical undertaking.
But it goes faster if you keep smiling.
It’s the 12th year Eastridge has given the pre-Thanksgiving gifts – no questions asked, no proof of need required.
For the first time since the latest round of controversy started roiling Mars Hill Church, its West Seattle site‘s future is in question. Today Mars Hill leadership announced online that it’s disbanding and that individual remaining churches will be able to either go independent, or will be sold:
…the board of Mars Hill has concluded that rather than remaining a centralized multi-site church with video-led teaching distributed to multiple locations, the best future for each of our existing local churches is for them to become autonomous self-governed entities. This means that each of our locations has an opportunity to become a new church, rooted in the best of what Mars Hill has been in the past, and independently led and run by its own local elder teams. …
The West Seattle Mars Hill building at 35th/Ida in Gatewood was previously Doxa Church, whose members joined forces with Mars Hill in 2006. That’s when Mars Hill bought the church for $180,000, according to county records, which show its appraised value at almost $3 million. Today’s announcement says, “All of Mars Hill’s existing church properties will either be sold, or the loans on the individual properties will be assumed by the independent churches, subject to approval by the lender …”
The online message about Mars Hill’s future is signed by Pastor Dave Bruskas, who has spoken for the church since its founder and Senior Pastor Mark Driscoll resigned earlier this month. He writes that Mars Hill is on a fast timeline for the reorganization plan – to be complete by the first of the year.
ADDED 8:50 PM: One more note on the Mars Hill purchase of the West Seattle church in 2006: As noted in the comment discussion below, we have found one more document, indicating that the purchase price was the “underlying debt” that remained on the property, while the equity beyond that was “a gift” from the seller. Even back in 2006, the county valued the property at almost $1.8 million.
Back in 2009, we reported on Lettuce Pray – local faith communities collecting food donations, particularly fresh-grown produce, for local food banks. It’s been going strong ever since, and just wrapped up another season. Jane Taylor shares this update:
I wanted to pass along the success of this summer’s Lettuce Pray collection. Kristen Parsons and I were unable to carry on these weekly collections of food from the churches, so Becky Boberg from WestSide Universalist Unitarian Church took it over for us.
As you can see, she collected about 1500 pounds of food, of which 1150 were fresh produce, grown by West Seattleites and taken to church on Sunday, where Becky picked it all up and deposited it directly into cold storage at the West Seattle and White Center Food Banks.Besides OLG and WWUU, participating churches included Alki UCC, St. John the Baptist Episcopal, Tibbetts United Methodist, Holy Rosary, and St. Bernadette’s.
In its six years, Lettuce Pray has collected over 5,000 pounds of fresh produce and an equal amount of canned goods and non perishables. Our thanks to the generous souls (and gardeners) of West Seattle – and to Becky Boberg! We’ll be back next summer!
Jane also forwarded the photos – noting that’s Becky’s hand, holding those beautiful tomatoes!
(WSB photos by Katie Meyer)
Sunshine again graced the annual Blessing of the Animals event presented by St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Admiral, drawing pets and their humans to the West Seattle High School parking lot next door this afternoon.
While St. John’s isn’t the only local church offering animal blessings, it’s the only one where you’ll find a member of the Order of Saint Francis participating in this tradition inspired by the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals:
That’s Brother Paul from the OSF, explained here. St. John’s priest in charge Rev. JD Godwin offered blessings as well – below, he blesses Waffles:
Even if you’re not religious, if you have a companion animal in your life, you might appreciate this offered prayer: “Bless those who curl themselves around our hearts, who twine themselves through our days, who companion us in our labor and who call us to come and play.”
We did spot one brave, well-behaved cat, named Purrcilla:
Rev. Godwin and Brother Paul blessed St. Francis medals and offered one for each pet blessed.
Most waited patiently for their turn.