Moses the hedgehog, left, and Auggie the dog get a close look (or sniff) of each other at the blessing of the animals service held in front of Duke Chapel on the Duke campus in Durham on Oct. 11, 2015. Moses came with Corey Tyson; Auggie came with Kate and Christopher Grimmett, all are from Durham. The service is being held this year on the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, who was known for his love and care of animals. Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com
Moses the hedgehog, left, and Auggie the dog get a close look (or sniff) of each other at the blessing of the animals service held in front of Duke Chapel on the Duke campus in Durham on Oct. 11, 2015. Moses came with Corey Tyson; Auggie came with Kate and Christopher Grimmett, all are from Durham. The service is being held this year on the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, who was known for his love and care of animals. Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com

Durham County

Duke Chapel to hold Blessing of the Animals on Sunday

From staff reports

October 13, 2017 03:02 PM

DURHAM

Taking inspiration from a medieval monk, Duke University Chapel ministers will pray over cats, dogs, hamsters – and maybe an iguana – during the annual Blessing of the Animals service at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Pet owners are welcome to bring their animals to the lawn in front of the chapel to receive a blessing as part of the worship service. Those bringing pets are responsible for their animals and are asked to bring only pets that will be safe around children and other animals.

Darry Connner (CQ) snuggles with her iguana, Bubbette, who likes to be held, during the Blessing of Animals service Sunday on the Duke Chapel lawn. "She sleeps with us," Conner said. "She's rotten." Hundreds of people and their pets (mostly dogs, but also cats, goats, horses, gerbils and at least one snake) attended the event. STAFF/SHER STONEMAN
SHER STONEMAN SHER STONEMAN

Free parking will be available in the Bryan Center parking garage. The rain date for the event is 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22.

“It is a blessing to give thanks to God while touching or holding animals large and small,” the Rev. Bruce Puckett, worship and community minister at Duke Chapel, said in a news release. “Our vision of the community of God’s good creation expands during this service as we recognize the joy and delight animals bring to our lives.”

The service will last about 30 minutes and feature performances by the Durham Children's Choir, Scripture readings and a reflection by the Rev. Meghan Benson, chaplain at Duke Divinity School. Individual animal blessings will take place immediately after the service.

The Blessing of the Animals service is inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, a 13th-century Italian Catholic friar who lived a life of voluntary poverty and is known for his love of animals. He believed the natural world could give glory to God, writing in his song, “Canticle of the Sun,” “Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures.”

Two chapel events, both free and open to the public, will immediately follow the service on Sunday. At 4 p.m. in the Divinity School’s Goodson Chapel, there is a Choral Evensong worship service, and at 5 p.m. in Duke Chapel is an organ recital by Kola Owolabi, an associate professor of organ at the University of Michigan.