All creatures great and small to be blessed

The first interfaith blessing of the animals to be held in Wilton will take place Saturday, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m. at the gazebo in Wilton Center.

Animal lovers are invited to bring their pet, a picture of a beloved animal or a favorite stuffed animal. All animals should be appropriately leashed or caged.

The blessing is spearheaded by the Rev. Mary Grace Williams of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, where she has conducted an annual blessing for the past 11 years.

“I went to the Interfaith Clergy Association and proposed we move it to town center and open it to all clergy that wants to participate,” she said.

“This comes out of my theology of ‘we’ll bring the place of worship to you.’ We’re trying to be in the heart of the town,” she added.

As of late last week, Ms. Williams expected three to four clergy to participate. “Each will offer a prayer and will individually go and bless whatever animal comes,” she said.

The blessing of the animals is a Christian tradition that usually takes place on or near the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, she said, which is Oct. 4.

“St. Francis of Assisi was known to have a special relationship with animals,” Ms. Williams said. “It’s a reminder of God’s creations and creatures. What a great way to gather the community to bring your pets and be part of this.”

Each animal that is blessed will receive a certificate of blessing. Ms. Williams said this event will be small and simple, with the hope it will grow with each passing year.

“My vision is looking for neutral ground to bring people together and honor the sacred and the holy.”