On this bright and beautiful Sunday afternoon, the 15th of October, 2023, the parishioners of St. Johannes Lutheran Church and residents of the Ansonborough neighborhood of Charleston, South Carolina, came together for a heartwarming tradition that brought joy to all who attended – the Annual Blessing of the Animals event. This cherished event, organized by Mary Lou Waitschies and Kay Winnett, with input from Pastor Aaron DeBenedetto, was a heartwarming gathering that drew a friendly, small crowd.
The event took place at 4 p.m., and it wasn't just a gathering of parishioners but also welcomed many curious onlookers, tourists, and even a visiting couple from North Carolina who were fortunate to witness the blessings bestowed upon our furry friends, including their new chocolate lab, Larry.
As the event unfolded, it was evident that the Blessing of the Animals was not just about faith but also about fostering a sense of community and sharing love with our animal companions. All sorts of dogs and their owners attended. Each family received blessings and treats. It was heartwarming to see the canines, ranging from tiny pups (Sassy) to large breeds (Larry), young (Louie) to old (Roxy), going away with an extra spring in their step, their tails wagging in delight.
One of the charming highlights of the event was Pastor Aaron's warm gesture towards a passing horse-drawn carriage filled with tourists. Pastor Aaron waved a heartfelt blessing to the tourists, demonstrating the inclusivity and warmth of the event. The tourists, undoubtedly surprised and touched by the experience, tasted Charleston's unique charm.
The Blessing of the Animals event was a beautiful reminder of the bond between humans and their beloved pets that began with God's creation of all beings and humans' care of His creation. It was a day of unity, faith, and a shared appreciation for the animals that bring joy and companionship to our lives. As attendees walked away from the event, there was an unmistakable sense of gratitude, a reminder that small moments of togetherness can brighten our lives in immeasurable ways. Christ was truly present.
With the 2023 Blessing of the Animals event now a cherished memory, those who attended and witnessed the event eagerly anticipate next year's gathering, where they can once again come together to celebrate the bond between humans and their furry friends.
The individual pet blessing:
"[Pet's Name], you were created by God, and you are loved by God. May you and your human family experience joy and companionship together and continue to be a blessing to each other. May God bless you and keep you healthy and safe, [Pet's Name]. Amen."