e-EditionSign up for email newsletters Sign up for email newsletterse-EditionA Chardon Township church welcomed pets into its building for a special program on the afternoon of Oct. 8.Celebration Lutheran Church held its second annual Pet Blessing and Care Fair.The event provided a way for pet owners to seek blessings for their animals. Local animal care
Sign up for email newsletters
Sign up for email newsletters
A Chardon Township church welcomed pets into its building for a special program on the afternoon of Oct. 8.
Celebration Lutheran Church held its second annual Pet Blessing and Care Fair.
The event provided a way for pet owners to seek blessings for their animals. Local animal care and rescue organizations also got the chance to raise awareness about their services.
Churches of many denominations conduct pet blessings in early October because it coincides with the Catholic Church celebrating the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4, said the Rev. Marilyn Matevia, who serves as pastor of Celebration Lutheran Church.
St. Francis is the Catholic Church’s patron saint of the environment and animals.
“He had a way with animals, and considered them to be brothers and sisters in creation,” Matevia said.
Celebration Lutheran Church, located at 10621 Auburn Road, decided to launch an event in 2022 that incorporated pet blessings and informational booths operated by area animal-welfare groups.
Last year’s program took place outdoors in the church parking lot. But this year, because of chilly temperatures and gusty winds that were forecast in Northeast Ohio on Oct. 8, church leaders decided to move the event indoors.
People brought their pets into the church sanctuary, where Matevia asked God to bestow his favor and protection upon each creature.
Mario and Ann Picciano, along with their daughter Alyssa Picciano, asked Matevia to bless the family’s dog, Stormie.
“I like to have my dog blessed, the same way I have my kids blessed,” Ann said.
The Piccianos, who live in Willowick, are members of Celebration Lutheran Church. Ann said that Stormie, a female, is a rescue dog that the family adopted from the Geauga County Dog Shelter and Warden’s Office.
Stormie, who is about 1 1/2 years old, is a mixture primarily of the shepherd, pit bull and boxer breeds, Ann said.
Although dogs represented most of the animals blessed by Matevia on Oct. 8, a few cats also received blessings.
Andrea Clark and her daughter Allison Clark brought two family cats into the sanctuary to be blessed.
Sims and Finn are orange cats who were born with an identical brother in the same litter.
“They were triplets, but the other one got adopted first by someone else,” Andrea said. “We got them from Rescue Village.”
The Clarks, who live in the city of Chardon, are members of Celebration Lutheran Church. Andrea said she believes that pets are worthy of being blessed.
“I think of our cats basically as members of our family,” she said.
The pet care fair was held in the foyer of the church.
One of the exhibitors was Rescue Village, an animal welfare agency based in Russell Township.
“We’re here to let people know about our services that we provide not only to animals, but people in the community who own animals,” said Lisa Ishee, the organization’s external affairs director. “We do have a huge pet food pantry that people in need can use. We also have low-cost spay/neuter services for residents of Geauga County and beyond.
“We don’t just serve Geauga County. We do serve other counties as the need exists, and people in those counties.”
Other organizations that participated in the pet care fair included Lake Humane Society, Rescue Village, the Sanctuary for Senior Dogs, Geauga Mama Dogs and Pups, and In Step with Horses.
Pet owners who came to the event also got to take home goodie bags for their pets. Contents of those bags included cat and dog toys, a St. Francis medallion and a prayer card requesting a blessing for family animals.
Announcements and fliers that Celebration Lutheran Church issued prior to the event also asked people to bring pet food donations to benefit local pet food banks.
Copyright © 2023 MediaNews Group