St. John’s Episcopal Church (6701 Wisconsin Ave.) will have its annual “Blessing of the Animals” and pet adoption fair on Sunday to mark the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.
Anybody with a pet is invited to bring their animal to the church for a special blessing at about 5 p.m., after the adoption event, which will run from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Susan Pizza, a church member and event organizer, said St. John’s clergy will offer individual blessings for each pet and dogs and cats will receive a special souvenir. All are welcome, regardless of their religious views.
Pizza, who owns a number of cats, described the connection she has developed with her pets as a reason for staging the event.
“I always have to start with the thought of unconditional love,” Pizza said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of lousy mood I’m in. They love me. It’s that companionship, the comfort they bring when things aren’t going well.”
More than 60 people braved poor weather conditions at last year’s Blessing, and Pizza is hoping for closer to 100 attendees this weekend.
It’s not the only church that will be celebrating its pets.
In Silver Spring, the St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church will have a Blessing of the Animals. The church is located next to the Aspin Hill pet cemetery, known as the burial ground for such famous pets as J. Edgar Hoover’s dog Spee-de-Bozo and General Grant Jiggs of “Little Rascals” fame.
“I think it’s to celebrate not only the animals that touch our lives but also the whole of creation,” Pizza said. “It brings you a connection to another being.”
The Montgomery County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Pet Connect and The Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue will run the adoption fair.