Bless­ing the an­i­mals

Talk of the Town - - Business Forum - ROB KNOWLES

“All the dark­ness in the world can­not ex­tin­guish the light of a sin­gle can­dle.”

De­spite the chill of an Oc­to­ber evening, res­i­dents and their pets ar­rived at the St Paul’s Church hall last Wed­nes­day to have their an­i­mals blessed on St Fran­cis of As­sisi Feast Day.

An in­for­mal af­fair, no one was dressed up in their Sun­day best, but had rather brought along their pets to be blessed.

St Fran­cis died on Oc­to­ber 3 1226, and his feast day is cel­e­brated the fol­low­ing day.

Arch Dea­con of St Paul’s, Cyn­thia Webb­stock, as­sisted by Ann Tyrrell, per­formed the bless­ings of the an­i­mals as is tra­di­tion in the Ro­man Catholic and Angli­can Churches around the world.

St Fran­cis, who was orig­i­nally named Gio­vanni di Pi­etro di Bernar­done, was by no mean, “just a bird watcher”, but was rather an out­spo­ken man of his times who, de­spite be­ing born into a fairly well-to-do fam­ily of silk mer­chants, gave up all ma­te­rial wealth to live a sim­ple life. As one of the most ven­er­ated fig­ures in medieval re­li­gious times, he was an out­spo­ken de­fender of the poor and the sick, and many of his say­ings are seen and used as tru­isms, even by those out­side of the Chris­tian fam­ily.

Each an­i­mal at the cer­e­mony re­ceived a cer­tifi­cate of the bless­ing they re­ceived and the own­ers gave to the col­lec­tion, which money went di­rectly to the SPCA.

Pic­ture: ROB KNOWLES

THANKS AUNTY ANN: Dud­ley, held by his owner Neil Play­don, re­ceived his bless­ing from Ann Tyrrell at the St Fran­cis Feast Day, held at St Paul’s Church last Wed­nes­day evening

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