By AMANDA ARNOLD
During the year, the leaders of the churches of downtown Jeffersonville get together to discuss different activities the churches can do as a community.
One of the big days of celebration is the first Sunday of October, which is around the same time as the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology. On this day, churches around the world celebrate pet blessings with a celebration.
“God, who blesses all living things, has often used the service of animals or made them reminders of the gifts of salvation,” the Rev. Don Summerfield of First Presbyterian Church read during the Community Blessing of the Animals at Saint Paul Episcopal Church on Sunday afternoon.
The churches of downtown Jeffersonville have participated in the Blessing of the Pets for 10 years, and it has always had a good turnout. This year, there were 25 pets.
Angela Richardson brought Trudy, her 6-month-old puppy for an early blessing.
“We just had her blessed. She is our new dog. We lost our other dog of 13 years,” Richardson said.
She added that the blessing was her daughter’s idea when they lost a guinea pig.
“All of our animals are blessed, so when they pass, it gives you some peace,” Richardson said.
Kari Lewis enjoyed watching Shiloh get a blessing.
“It’s great to get everyone involved and it’s a good time. Shiloh had a great time as usual, and we came last year for the first time. As long as she’s around with us, it’s a miracle,” Lewis said.
Mary Clark explained that her Scarlet had the best behavior, and that was a blessing.
“May good blessings be upon you and may you always be a good friend and companion,” said Jennifer Knutsen of Saint Lukes Church of Christ as she blessed Scarlet.
“Blessed you are, O Lord of the Universe; for the sake of our comfort you give us domestic animals as companions and helpers,” Summerfield said during the worship service.
After worship service and blessings, the participants enjoyed animal crackers and “bug juice.”
The Community Blessing of the Animals was a conclusion to World Communion Day, which had an 11:30 communion for the churches of downtown Jeffersonville in the yard of Wall Street United Methodist Church.
“World Communion Day is celebrated all over the world at the different churches to remember all of our Christian brothers and sisters from around the world. On this Sunday, we feel our connection to them, and this is our connection,” Knutsen said.
First Presbyterian, Saint Paul Episcopal Church, Saint Lukes Church of Christ, Wall Street United Methodist and Saint Augustine Catholic Church of Jeffersonville participated in World Communion Day and Community Blessing of the Animals.