Los Olivos, Santa Barbara County, California— St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church invites the public to attend a free “Blessing of the Animals Festival” on Sunday, October 14, 2012 starting at 4:30pm at the church located at 2901 Nojoqui Avenue in downtown Los Olivos. For the first time, the festival will include displays and information from Santa Ynez Valley animal-related groups and organizations.
All ages are welcome to bring pets (on a lead or in a crate) for a special individual prayer of blessing by The Rev. Dr. Randall Day, Priest and Rector of St. Mark’s starting at 5:00pm. The service will be a casual one, held outdoors in front of the church. (In the rare case of inclement weather, the festival will be held inside the church’s Stacy Hall.) If a pet cannot be transported or is unable to attend, a photograph can be blessed instead. Children are also welcome to bring stuffed animal toys for a blessing.
A reception will follow the service featuring animal treats and water for pets; and sodas, wine and cheese for their humans to enjoy. Celebrated near St. Francis of Assisi’s feast day of October 4, this blessing of the animals is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis’ love for all creatures great and small.
The Rev. Dr. Randall Day, St. Mark’s Priest and Rector remarked, “These creatures are our companions and friends and we as loving humans can learn from them, especially when it comes to living in the moment. Our pets will never discuss their five-year plans and they will never talk about how they regretted eating that last biscuit. They are here to remind us that we are alive now, to be awake and show us the spirit. We welcome all residents and visitors to join us in this celebration of animals.” For more information, contact the Church office at (805) 688-4454 or visit SMITV.org.
St Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church, 2901 Nojoqui Ave., Los Olivos, CA 93441; (805) 688-4454 www.SMITV.org