All God’s Creatures Have a Place in the Pew
A small band leads hymns before the pews. The light provided by the overhanging fixtures, and streaming through the stained glass windows, has a yellow and heavenly glow. People and dogs alike sing and bark along from the pews.
A church offers many services to humans, but you probably weren’t aware of this particular one. The Blessings of the Animals event is in its 20th year of running. The aim? To provide a blessing upon any and all creatures brought forth, whether living or passed on. The event’s organizer, Heather Trainor, initially organized the tradition as part of the healing process of losing her beloved dog 20 years prior.
Trainor says the experience can be extremely cathartic for people.
“Did you feel an incredible feeling in the air? I guess it’s because there’s all like minded people here,” says Trainor. “ It doesn’t happen in any other church service that I’ve been to and the priest will tell you this is their favourite thing to do.”
Those that bring animals are encouraged to line up with their animals in Noah’s Ark-esque fashion until one of the priests indicates it is their turn.
While this event only entertained dogs and one cat, all animals that can fit through the church doors are welcome. In the past the event has blessed the horse of an RCMP officer.
All photos by Jennifer Dorozio.
Published on November 17, 2016.
All dogs big and small came out of the woodworked pews to be blessed.
The priests have a good time of praying over and blessing every special pet brought forward, spending a little time getting to know each dog.
The well-behaved canines stood in line patiently.
Dogs peer out of pews as the lift their heads in hope of a scratch or pat from passerbys at the Blessing of the Animals in the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer located in downtown Calgary.
The contagiously reverent demeanor of the church was palpable, as each animal was all smiles.
The line-up of owners and animals stretched out the main sanctuary of the church. Despite this there was minimal barking as the animals came on their best behaviour for their church appearances.