All of the pets including Teddy, a 15-year-old Cocker Spaniel, were given a personal blessing during the Blessing of the Animals held at the Mesquite United Methodist Church on Saturday, Oct. 28: Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Early in October, many Christian churches participate in a ritual known as the Blessing of the Animals. Held on or about the Feast Day of St. Francis, this ritual brings people and their pets “flocking.” The annual Blessing of the Animals offers individuals with pets an opportunity to reflect upon the positive impact animals have on our emotional and physical well-being.

On Saturday Oct. 28 Pastor Rick Casebolt of the Mesquite United Methodist Church bestowed blessings upon many of the pets that belong to Mesquite Residents and anyone visiting the area. This is the fourth year that Pastor Casebolt has been blessing Mesquite pets.

Pastor Casebolt began the service saying, “A blessing of the animals, for us, bears witness to God’s love, care and concern for creation. The animals of God’s creation inhabit the skies, the earth and the sea.”

Pastoral candidate, Gary Williams, Gave thanks to God who has gifted us with the animals in the wild, on the farms and in our home. Other church members asked for forgiveness in our shortfalls in caring for God’s creatures by poisoning their water, erasing their places for shelter and killing off their food supplies and forgiveness when we neglect them.

Each of the pets, like Teddy, a 15-year-old Cocker Spaniel, were given a personal blessing: “You were created by God and you are loved by God. May you and your human family experience joy and companionship together and continue to be a blessing to each other. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, amen.”

The service concluded with, again, thanking God for enriching people’s lives with the love and joy that pets provide and asking him to help in the endeavor of caring of for these wonderful creatures.