Blessing animals (and all of Creation) is nothing new for the churches. St. Francis of Assisi was known for his love of all living creatures and respect for the earth. The annual tradition of inviting animal owners to bring their pets and service animals to local churches will be repeated at churches across the state this weekend (the feast day is Oct 4). St. Paul’s parish, the Cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, has hosted a “Blessing of the Animals” service for 12 years.
But this year, it’s not just about the cute photo or sprinkling your pup with water. There are big questions at play in the ballot initiative.
The Very Rev. Jep Streit, Dean of the Cathedral, said, “We’ve been blessing animals for over a decade, but this year we have a chance to contribute more than our prayers, we can add our witness to help eliminate a practice that is clearly not a blessing for these greyhounds.”
At this service, proponents of the ballot initiative will be blessed for their work. Parishioners will have the opportunity to meet injured greyhound dogs and learn more about Question 3.
The Massachusetts Council of Churches has opposed gambling expansion in all forms, dating back to the beginning of legalized dog racing. And the churches worked long and hard with many others to oppose the most recent plan for gambling expansion to legalized highly addictive slot machines and authorize mega-casinos. Today, the Massachusetts Council of Churches, an ecumenical partnership of seventeen Orthodox and Protestant churches/denominations in the state with approximately 1700 congregations, announced their endorsement of Question 3. “In addition to concerns about expanded gambling, dog racing is a cruel practice that goes against our shared sense of care for all of God’s Creation.” said MCC Executive Director Jack Johnson.
We have enouraged local congregations holding “blessing of the animals” services to consider including information about the Greyhound Protesction Act. Local greyhounds are invited to attend and resources – including Yes on 3 flyers and animal blessing liturgies – are available.
Christine Dorchak, Chairwoman of the Committee to Protect Dogs, said “this is a wonderful opportunity to have all creatures great and small blessed. The Question 3 volunteers and their dogs have been working hard to bring our message to the public. We are excited to have a time to be blessed by the churches in our efforts to phase out this industry that all people of good will find cruel.”
You know the rest of this, but here are the details: The Committee to Protect Dogs is a state ballot question committee dedicated to passing stronger dog protection laws in the Commonwealth. Committee co-chairs include representatives of the MSPCA-Angell, The Humane Society of the United States, and greyhound protection group GREY2K USA.
I hope you’ll consider coming and bringing your pet. Thanks, Laura