‘Celebrating all of God’s creations’: Calvary Lutheran Church holds Blessing of Animals event
Furry and feathered pets of all shapes and sizes gathered with their owners on Wednesday at Calvary Lutheran Church for a “Blessing of the Animals” worship service in celebration of all of God’s creatures.
BEMIDJI — Furry and feathered pets of all shapes and sizes gathered with their owners on Wednesday at Calvary Lutheran Church for a “Blessing of the Animals” worship service in celebration of all of God’s creatures.
Taking place in the back parking lot, controlled animals on a leash or in a kennel were invited to attend along with their owners. The service included live praise and worship music from the church band, a memorial candle for pets who have passed and a hands-on blessing for the pets and the people who care for them the most.
“A big piece of this is just acknowledging that we are all part of a larger item and for a lot of households, animals are a large part of their family,” said the Rev. Jeremiah Holst. “We are taking time to recognize the gift that they are and have a service they’re able to participate in with us.”
While Holst and the Rev. Susan Tjornehoj made their way around the congregation to bless each pet one by one, a free-will offering was also going around where all proceeds went to support Great River Rescue.
Even if a pet couldn’t attend due to anxiety around other animals or other medical disabilities, owners could simply show Tjornehoj or Holst a picture to make sure even absent pets could be blessed.
Holst also added that this service is not quite a celebration for everyone, as it also serves as a more sovereign space to grieve pets who have passed away.
“A lot of people, especially folks that have lost their pets, lose a whole lot more. Oftentimes there’s not really any time to acknowledge the grief that goes with it,” Holst said. “This provides some of the frameworks for that as well so owners can be a part of the service even though their pets are no longer here.”
He also mentioned that the service is kept short and sweet, never any longer than 30 minutes, because the animals start to get antsy. The Reverends ended the service with “a round of appaws,” for God and the congregation’s love and care for His creations.
“It's a lot of fun and anyone is welcome anytime we hold (a pet blessing).” Holst concluded.