Although it is not uncommon to see pets around campus, more four-legged creatures than usual gathered on the Quad in front of Hogg Hall this past Monday for the Interfaith Pet Blessing to receive blessings from College Chaplain and Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Alex Hendrickson.
On Oct. 4, people across the globe commemorated Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the environment and animals, and embraced his message of recognizing pets as a crucial part of our lives. The customary tradition of blessing one’s pet has been practiced by churches on St. Francis’s feast day since 1228. Many animal rescue groups use this day to organize fundraisers to continue their causes.
Hendrickson believes that conducting this event on campus allows people to appreciate and embrace the significant roles that pets have in our day-to-day lives.
Both faculty and students gathered to receive blessings for their pets. Because many students could not bring their pets to campus due to distance, they brought pictures of their pets to be blessed instead. Faculty dogs from the math and physics departments were favorites, as multiple students stopped to pet them while passing by the event.
During the blessing, participants shared how they met their pet, the significance of their pet in their lives and some of their pet’s favorite things to do. Many students spoke about how there would be new puppies and kittens joining their families soon and how excited they were to meet them when they returned home.
After the blessing, owners were given small certificates marking their blessing which included both their name and their pet’s name.
“Life during the pandemic made us realize how important our pets are to ourselves and our families,” Hendrickson said during the blessing.