A church in Denbighshire is holding special services where pets can receive blessings at the altar.
Dogs, rabbits and even chickens attended St Mary’s Parish Church in Rhuddlan as they hosted their latest family pet service over the weekend.
Scores of animal lovers brought their pets to the chapel to enjoy a family -friendly modern service which culminated in the creatures, great and small, each receiving an individual blessing from the minister.
It is thought to be one of the only chapels in the area to extend the blessing ceremony to animals.
A spokesperson for the church said: “Before this weekend, we’d only done this twice before and we’ve not heard of it happening elsewhere in this area.
“A few years ago St. Mary’s was approached to start a pet service as many of our parishioners and community wanted their pets to be blessed but it wasn’t always feasible for the vicar to visit each and every household who wanted this.
“It was also a great way of bringing people together and celebrating this as a community. It worked well and has continued each year since then.
“All are welcome. Pet owners are invited to come up to the altar individually with their pet to be blessed. There is no need to pre-book – they just need to arrive in time for the start of the service.
“It’s a short family friendly service – modern hymns and short prayers in what you might call everyday language.
“During the service anyone wishing their pets to be blessed would bring them up to the altar area where the vicar blesses them.
“The service tends to be annual, so there’s a bit of a wait until the next one.”
The blessing and thanksgiving service invites pet owners of all denominations to celebrate the animals that share their lives.
Refreshments are provided for both the animals and their humans with tea and coffee for the people, and water bowls and biscuits for the pets.
While pet-orientated sermons and blessings are relatively uncommon, some churches do invite parishioners to bring their animals in celebration of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment.
Those who are interested in bringing their pets to be blessed should keep an eye out on the St Mary’s social media channels for details of any future family pet services.
Written by: Zara Whelan
First published 16.07.19: https://www.dailypost.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/church-you-can-your-dog-16586747