On Sunday, September 30th, the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown celebrated the Blessing of the Animals with about 30 parishioners, some tasty snacks and more than a few barks.
Of course, cats, birds and assorted other creatures were welcome and received spiritual reckoning, but Yorktown’s Dick Seymour only found room in the car for his wife Mabel and their two small dogs. “We’re blessing the cats in absentia,” he said.
At the same time, the higher purpose the amiable pair of four leggers seemed to subscribe to was more closely aligned to the idea of being fruitful and multiplying, according to Mrs.Seymour. “They love it, coming and seeing all these other dogs,” she said.
Susan Utsch was all for the being part of the shared love, but she also had no problem being selfish in her love for her fury companion. “I want Shea to be blessed so I can have her for a very long time,” said the Cortlandt Manor resident.
Still, she saw the bigger picture from above and below. “We have to respect and take care of animals so they can be what God intended them to be,” she said.
Reverend Chip Low then led the animal lovers and believers to a similar stand. Worthy of our attention, care and respect, he said, “God intended for all things to be here - great and small.”
While that may be true, the reverend did defer to a degree on how much mention certain of the small should get on a day like this. “God, our creator, help us to love all creatures as our kin, all animals as our partners on Earth, all birds asmessengers of praise, all small beings as expressions of your mysterious designs and all frogs as voices of hope,” he followed the prayer’s script, but playfully digressed with a – “I’m not sure where the frogs came from?”
Returning to the serious side, the reverend assigned the origins of the day to St. Francis of Assisi and teachings meant to show that God’s love and appreciation extends beyond those that he created in his image. “All of God’s creation is beautiful,” he reiterated the sentiment of St. Francis.
Two by two or just in sigle file, the procession began. Rita Child stepped up with “Vanna Black” in tow. “She just had an ultrasound and is recovering,” she said. “People have their health issues and so do animals.”
The idea of actually bringing this festivity here occurred when Reverend Low performed the service for a circus a few years ago. “We haven’t had an elephant yet,” he said in the second year of doing this.
Nonetheless, he definitely takes the light fare of the tradition seriously. “Pets are part of people’s families and they do grieve the loss of one,” he said. “So it’s very important to acknowledge that,” he concluded.