Blessing of the Animals Event at St. Mark's-in-the-Valley Church
St. Mark's-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church invites the community to bring their animals to the free annual "Blessing of the Animals" event on Sunday, October 3, 2021. Beginning at 5:00 p.m., animals and their people will gather outdoors at the church at 2901 Nojoqui Avenue in downtown Los Olivos.
"These creatures are our companions and friends and have been especially important to us in these times of being distant from other people. Our animals remind us we are alive and demonstrate unconditional love – and also draw us into the wonder of the world around us. Quite often they can teach us to slow down, reorder our priorities and live in the moment,” said Rev. Randall Day, St. Mark’s priest and rector.
Humans of all ages and of all faiths or none are welcome to bring pets (on a lead or in a crate) for an individual prayer of blessing by Rev. Day. A brief, casual outdoor service in front of the church leads into blessing all the animals. Blessings will also be offered for photographs of pets unable to attend or be transported. Children are invited to bring a stuffed animal for a blessing as well. Large or "unsociable" animals may remain in a vehicle or trailer, and the priest will come to them.
Acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and singer Adam Phillips, the founder/director of Santa Barbara Folk Orchestra, will provide musical entertainment throughout the event and a complimentary reception with animal treats and water for animals, as well as beverages, wine and cheese for their humans.
This much-loved blessing of the animals event is conducted annually in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi near his feast day of October 4, honoring his love for all creatures, great and small.