On day of prayer, many of the blessed have four legs

Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:46pm EDT
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By Mandy Oaklander

HOUSTON (Reuters) - They came to be blessed, so the Rev. Murray Powell placed his hands on Fifi, Jack and Dr. Who on Saturday afternoon and prayed.

They were dogs and cats, a horse, and, in one case, a python.

The pet blessings, organized in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, were the city-run animal shelter's unorthodox way of promoting animal adoption.

Churches typically hold pet blessings throughout October to honor Saint Francis of Assisi, Christianity's patron saint of animals. Though many thought Saint Francis was crazy, Powell said, he believed that animals deserved to hear the gospel.

"Let's not make the decision they can't understand, because they might," said Powell, who came to the shelter known as BARC for the second straight year to perform the blessings.

After Powell blessed each animal, the owner received a certificate commemorating the ceremony.

Among the 20 or so people who brought animals was Lynn Milson, an animal technician at the shelter, who came with one of his 16 snakes.

"Everyone's like, snakes are evil and creepy," he said. "I think it's funny when people see my certificate that a preacher blessed a snake."   Continued...