- Name: Rev. Mary Kay Totty
- Occasion: Blessing of the Animals
Church isn’t just for people. In Georgetown, Dumbarton United Methodist Church will conduct “a blessing of the animals” at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8 on the front steps of the church.
Why animals? ”It is one of the ways we can honor God’s creation and acknowledge the significance of other creatures in our lives,” says the Rev. Mary Kay Totty, who will conduct the blessing.
But just as a precaution, Totty says: “Please take every step to make sure your pet is well behaved.”
Just how do you bless animals, which aren’t accustomed to the rituals of religious ceremonies? She touches each animal (unless it is in a cage) and says a prayer for each one, “thanking God for the creature and hoping it lives a happy and long life.” She would even bless snakes and birds if someone brought them. One time, she conducted the ceremony at a farm, blessing horses and other creatures.
Generally, it appears that the animals like the experience. “They usually take in the new sights and sounds and the folks gathered around,” she says.
It’s not necessary to bring a pet. People can bring pictures of their pets to be blessed. Or even stuffed animals.
Oct. 8 was chosen for the blessing because it is close to Oct. 4, St. Francis Day, in honor of the Patron Saint of Animals. The church conducted its first blessing of the animals last year.
The church is located at 3133 Dumbarton Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. Details at www.dumbartonumc.org