10.11.2005

Worms: 'Get Them Blessed & Get Them Out of There!'



Earthworms, Cat Receive Church Blessing

from The Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. - John Christensen brought his earthworms and his cat to church.

The 9-year-old is creating his own worm farm, and he chose a couple of the community's founding members to attend Sunday's service.

John's earthworms and his cat, Arthur, were among about 20 animals taking part in the annual Blessing of Animals ceremony at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Fargo.

The animals — mostly dogs, a few cats, one parakeet — gathered inside the church garage for Sunday's ceremony, led by the Rev. Jeffrey Wald. The blessing is associated with the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, known as the patron saint of animals.

"Animals help us to see God's magnificence in his creation," said Wald, who has given the blessing for 13 years. He acknowledged it means more to owners than to their pets.

Like children in the pews on Sunday morning, the animals don't always remain still for Wald's prayers, so he prefers to work fast. This year's ritual lasted only a few minutes.

"They start barking and hissing," Wald said, "so you've got to get them blessed and out of there."

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