Blessing of the Animals

Laurie Arthur, of Bluefield, Va. watches as the Reverend Chad Slater blesses her Australian shepherd during the Blessing of the Animals at the Christ Episcopal Church in Bluefield Sunday.

BLUEFIELD — From basset hounds to Great Danes, a wide variety of pets and their owners stopped by Christ Episcopal Church on Sunday afternoon for the “Blessing of the Animals.”

Reverend Chad Slater of Christ Episcopal Church blessed the animals Sunday. 

“We’re the sponsoring parish for the animal blessing,” Slater said. “The event today is meant to commemorate St. Francis of Assisi the patron saint of animals. It is also to serve as an opportunity for people here in the community with the shelter and different pet rescues to come out and showcase their different types of ministries. And allow us all the opportunity to just appreciate our pets and show them how much we love them and they love us.”

Teresa Paine from Bluefield, Va. said it’s important to include animals in worship. “I think our animals our so important to us,” Paine said. “This is an opportunity to include them in our worship. Getting them blessed is really special. I’m happy to have our boxer Maggie here. She’s been greeting everyone. She’s three.” 

Stephanie Caldwell from Bluefield brought her Great Dane to the event. “I thought it was a great socialization opportunity for the animals,” Caldwell said. “This is Zander’s first time being blessed. This is going to be a great experience for all of us.” 

The pet enthusiasts had a few prayers together and sang a song prior to the blessing. “We’ll bless each animal individually,” Slater said. “A lot of these events go on around the country. There wasn’t anything like this here in Bluefield. We wanted to not just bless the animals but also showcase the different animal ministries going on in the area.”   

— Contact Blake Stowers at

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