Offices & Resources

Chapel Service Celebrates Annual "Blessing of the Animals"
Chapel Service Celebrates Annual "Blessing of the Animals"

In an annual tradition at St. Mark's, on Friday, October 4, student and faculty pets were welcomed at the morning Chapel service for the "Blessing of the Animals."

After gathering outside in the cloister during the start of the service, a procession of more than 40 dogs, a cat, two chinchillas, and a lizard came down the aisle in Belmont Chapel. They were blessed by the Rev. Barbara Talcott, St. Mark's head chaplain, and the Rev. Katie Solter, associate chaplain, before exiting out the back door as the regular morning service continued. In the church calendar, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi—the patron saint of animals—is on October 4.

Always an enjoyable event, the special ceremony brings the community together as a caring, nurturing family. While the majority of the animals present belonged to either day student families or to St. Mark's faculty and staff, boarders were encouraged to bring in photographs of their pets from home, to also receive a blessing.

Chapel at St. Mark's takes place twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday mornings, and once a month there is a longer service in the evening. All voices, all perspectives, and all faiths are welcomed. At this once-yearly special service, the procession and blessing of the animals takes the place of the Chapel talk, usually delivered by a student or faculty member.