Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Animal Blessing

A few weeks ago I was asked by St Stephen`s primary school, which is the school for SS Peter and Paul`s parish at Longbenton which is also in my care, to go with them for their annual service at the cat and dog shelter which adjoins their playing fields. I didn`t know really what to expect but found the top two classes there and a whole para-liturgy worked out. The service took place in what had been a barn when the site was a farm. Much to my surprise the first animals I came across were sheep and cows in the barn. Apparently they were retired: I didn`t know they got the opportunity to retire! The service included the story of St John Bosco and the dog Grigio, St Francis and the wolf of Gubbio and a dog by the name of Princess who obeyed orders to sit and stay during the floods in New Orleans.. The local press were there to take photos of me blessing a dog. After the service I went around the whole place blessing cats and dogs. I also blessed four retired pit ponies which had worked at Ellington Colliery in Northumberland until it closed in 1995. I was tempted by a couple of the cats but the two I have are enough to be getting on with. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera and so have no pictures of this event. I am also looking for my full edition of the ritual to see what blessings there were for this kind of event.

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