Service focuses on other ‘members of family’

Calling all creatures: TCU is holding its first Blessing of the Animals ceremony at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday.Students, faculty, staff and the Fort Worth community are encouraged to bring their pets or pictures of their pets to be blessed individually, said Ann Smith, TCU Ministries Intern for Worship, Spiritual Life & Pastoral Care.

The Blessing of the Animals is in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, a 13th-century monk and patron saint of animals, and will be held outside of Robert Carr Chapel.

The blessing holds special significance for pet owners who, like St. Francis, feel that their companions are members of the family, Smith said.

At the ceremony, there will be prayer, scripture, song, response reading and blessings for the animals, said the Rev. Angela Kaufman, minister to the university.

“The blessing will involve three clergy from the local community and will include all animals present and nonpresent. But it’s really for all of God’s creation,” Kaufman said.

The offering at the blessing will be donated to Noah’s Wish, a nonprofit organization that works exclusively to rescue and shelter animals in disaster.

Many of the animals at Noah’s Wish were rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and have been housed in a temporary shelter in Slidell, La.

More than 1,000 animals have gone through the shelter since Katrina, including cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, snakes, a scorpion, an emu, a potbelly pig and many more animals, according to the Noah’s Wish Web site.

After the blessing, refreshments for attendees and pets will be provided.

Also, all pets need to have a leash or a container, Kaufman said.