Pets, owners celebrate Blessing of the Animals

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By Kelly Cantrall

St. Christopher Catholic Church welcomed many visitors of the quadrupedal variety this weekend for a special service.


St. Christopher offered the Blessing of the Animals service Saturday at the church in Radcliff. Dogs, cats and their  owners came out in the morning to celebrate the relationship between people and their pets.

The service coincides with the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4, who is considered the patron saint of animals in the church.

The Rev. Dennis Cousens spoke of St. Francis and his love of animals, and read from the book of Genesis, in which it discusses the creation of animals by God.

Cousens is himself an animal lover and has three dogs and four cats. Church might be for people, but Cousens said God is responsible for all creation, and this service celebrates his presence in nature.

A pet’s love for his or her owner is unconditional, he said.

“They show us God’s love,” he said.

Dogs made up the majority of animals, and the most social among them made the rounds to meet and greet their brethren. Most sat patiently through the service, though some, like misbehaving children, were shushed when they barked while Cousens was speaking.

Cousens dipped his hand in holy water and blessed each animal with a pats on the head. For those animals who were not interested in fellowship with others, Cousens went to car windows to bless those unwilling or not allowed to leave the backseat.

Sophie, an English Mastiff, had attended Blessing of the Animals services in Louisville with her owner, Susan Bahl. Bahl liked taking Sophie because it was “very traditional.”

This was the first time for Winnie, a Chihuahua/dachshund mix that belongs to Kristen Cox. Cox adopted Winnie a couple months ago after she was surrendered by her owners.

Cox said she thought the blessing would give Winnie “a fresh start.”

“She’s had a rough first year,” she said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.