St. Thomas’s Episcopal Parish celebrated St. Francis of Assisi Feast Day with a special service aimed at the church’s four-legged members on Sunday.

St. Francis is the patron saint of animals and the environment.

“In honor of St. Francis, we bless all the animals,” explained the Rev. Dr. Howell Sasser Jr., rector of the South College Avenue church.

The annual Blessing of the Animals is a popular tradition at Episcopal churches around the country, Sasser added.

“I’ve blessed cats, dogs, ferrets, fish and all kinds of things,” he said. “Never had a snake, though.”

On Sunday, the gathering at St Thomas’s consisted of a few cats and dogs. Sasser led a brief service and then went around and gave each pet a personal blessing – and a treat.

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