The blessing of pets and animals is often celebrated on October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, or on a Sunday near that date. This coincides with the end of "Creationtide", originally an Eastern Orthodox initiative, which has spread to other Churches.
Our Director of Ordinands, the Revd Canon William Gulliford, is also the vicar of St Mark's Regent's Park in London. The London Zoo happens to be in his parish so obviously St Francis Day has to be celebrated in style.
On 2 October, he gathered with one of our diocesan curates, the Revd Doreen Cage, and about 100 parishioners at the Zoo, for a service before the penguin pool. Mother Doreen is a great animal lover, and in addition to her priestly duties runs a home for dogs in the hills above Malaga city, where is an assistant curate in St George's.
There are two remarkable things about the photo above. One is to observe Fr William engaging in an action song! The other is the penguin in the bottom left, dressed not too differently from the priests, apparently concelebrating the feast!
|Fr William and Mother Doreen|