On Sunday, the lawn outside Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church was crowded with locals and their pets. They gathered for the renewal of the church's annual pet blessing, which occurs the day before St. Francis of Assisi's day of commemoration.
Locals were carrying cat crates, toting dogs on leashes, carefully handling plastic jars containing fish, and even bearing the ashes of a former pet.
Tina Oberheide balanced a canary cage. She had hoped it might sing along with the hymns, which were part of a brief service prior to pastors Darlene Muschett and Joe Holub performing the blessings.
“Pets are an important part of people's lives, particularly in Summit County” Oberheide said. “This is a way to make them special for a day.”
The pet blessing was last done by the church several years ago before taking a multi-year hiatus, Holub explained. They hold it prior to the commemoration day for St. Francis of Assisi because the saint was known for his appreciation of nature.
“His brotherhood was all of God's creation,” Muschette said. “His love of nature was so deep.”
The service included hymns and readings from Genesis and Psalm 104, which praise all of creation, particularly its animals.
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