Bless them all

COME ONE, COME ALL: All creatures will be welcome at the Blessing of the Animals at St Paul’s Anglican Church next month conducted by Rev Hilary Singleton.
COME ONE, COME ALL: All creatures will be welcome at the Blessing of the Animals at St Paul’s Anglican Church next month conducted by Rev Hilary Singleton. Kate Oneill

FEATHERED or furred, hoofed or clawed, all creatures great and small will be welcomed at St Paul's Anglican Church in Byron Bay next month for the annual Blessing of the Animals.

The church will open its doors to animals and owners of all faiths on Sunday, October 14, to help celebrate St Francis Day.

St Francis is known as the patron saint of animals and the environment, and according to priest-in-charge of the Byron Anglican parish, Rev Hilary Singleton, he was one of the earliest eco-activists.

"He would have fitted in here (Byron Bay) perfectly," she said.

"St Francis had a unique understanding of the cosmos and was an eco prophet in his time.

"He understood that all created things are a part of God's family and had great compassion for the suffering of mistreated creatures."

This is the third year St Paul's has had a Blessing of the Animals and it is always a popular event.

In previous years Rev Hilary has blessed dogs, cats, guinea pigs and even a macaw.

She said animals did not have to be small pets - horses, donkeys and other livestock were also welcome - as long as they were kept under control by their owners.

Rev Hilary said it was a fun morning, and those who attended did not have to be regular church goers.

"People read about it in the paper and want to have it done even though they wouldn't normally come anywhere near the church, which is great," Rev Hilary said.

The blessing will start at 9am. Contact Rev Hilary on 6685 6431 for more information.

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