2006-10-12 / About Town

St. Matts' blessing of the animals

By Sam Bari

Suzanne Wheelock had her dog Pixie blessed as part of the Blessing of the Animals celebration held last weekend at St. Matthew's church. Photo by Andrea von Hohenleiten Suzanne Wheelock had her dog Pixie blessed as part of the Blessing of the Animals celebration held last weekend at St. Matthew's church. Photo by Andrea von Hohenleiten Last Sunday, Reverend Kevin Lloyd of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church held the blessing of the animals on the church lawn on Narragansett Avenue. The annual blessing is in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226, the patron saint of animals and the ecology. His feast falls on Oct. 6. The day couldn't have been more perfect. Blue skies, cool temperatures, and a nice turnout of Jamestown's pet lovers and their pets gathered for the event. The pets appeared to be very respectful of the occasion, offering infrequent, subdued barks and meows as they waited their turns.

Tucker, a three-and-a-half-yearold golden retriever wagged his tail as Reverend Lloyd gave him his first blessing. Tucker spends his spare time playing with tennis balls.

Melody, a six-month-old kitten, was a Potter League rescue cat shortly after birth. She purred quietly as she received her first blessing. Melody now has a fulltime job as Haley Carlisle's pet and spends her free hours chasing a ball of string.

Doogie, Puppy, and Giraffe, three stuffed animals belonging to Harry Lloyd were well behaved as they were blessed by Harry's dad.

Jim Breakell, who has attended St. Matthew's for over 15 years, brought Sophie, a five-year-old beagle rescued by the Potter League and adopted two days before the annual event, sat quietly during her first blessing. She takes great pride in being well behaved.

Magnolia, a part Wheaton Terrier water dog, age 12, offered a friendly bark of thanks after her blessing. She is experienced in these affairs, having been blessed in Newport last year. Amanda Wright, Magnolia's owner, thought a hometown blessing in Jamestown would be especially good for her happy pet.

Suzanne and Gary Wheelock brought their four-year-old Yorkshire terrier, weighing in at three pounds, and Buddy, their five-year-old Cocker Spaniel, who offered a paw as he was blessed.

Reverend Lloyd came to St. Matthew's from North Carolina, where he was pastor at a church in a rural area. "I'm accustomed to blessing some fairly unusual pets," he said. "Every year, I blessed the same four horses in North Carolina. They arrived in a trailer and stood

quietly in front of the church as I blessed them. I also had the occasion to bless a number of reptiles, lizards, and other exotic pets," he added.

After the ceremonies, the animals socialized on the church lawn, all blessed, while their owners felt blessed for having them.

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