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Middletown Transcript
  • St. Anne's Episcopal School holds annual Blessing of the Animals

  • More than 100 creatures – great, small and stuffed – received blessings Thursday during the 12th annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony at St. Anne's Episcopal School in Middletown.
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  • More than 100 creatures – great, small and stuffed – received blessings Thursday during the 12th annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony at St. Anne's Episcopal School in Middletown.
    Six Episcopal priests, led by school chaplain the Rev. Gary Taylor, spent about an hour offering individual blessings to the animals, most of which were the pets of students at the preschool-to-eighth-grade independent school off of Silver Lake Road.
    "Blessing animals is an Episcopal tradition that goes back to St. Francis of Assisi and we've been upholding that tradition ever since the school opened," said Head of School Peter Thayer, who noted that St. Francis' Feast Day is on Oct. 4.
    "This is a way for our students to express the love they have for their pets and share the feelings they have for those special members of their families with their friends and classmates. We hope they also take away a sense that all of God's creatures have got a place in the choir."
    This year's procession of blessings was predominately made up of family dogs, like the Steele family's Shih Tzu, Max.
    "I'm really glad I was able to make it this year because we couldn't do it last year," said Jennifer Steele, whose sons, seventh-grader Colton and second-grader Blake, attend St. Anne's. "The boys were excited to have their dog here and share their pet with their classmates and I do think it's important to have Max blessed, because he's a part of our family.
    Other animals at the ceremony were a little more exotic, like fifth-grader Slater Phillips' fish, Finley.
    "We couldn't bring both of our dogs, so we figured we'd bring the fish," explained his mother Lynette of Earleville, Md..
    Lisa Slinkard of Elkton, Md. carried a pair of guinea pig cages under her arms as she headed to the school entrance to meet her daughters eighth-grader Yujie and fifth-grader Claire.
    "Animals are such a blessing to kids," she said. "I think this is a wonderful way to recognize that."
    Mary Macmillian, an eighth-grader at the school, might have stolen the show Thursday when her mother, Katie, arrived with the family's miniature horse, Rye.
    "I always wanted to bring my horse, especially this year since it's my last at St. Anne's," Mary said.
    "He needs a blessing," Katie added. "In the past we've brought our dogs, a cat and even our goat, so I agreed to bring Rye this year because it was important to Mary. Her passion in life is horses."
    Many students who don't own pets brought their favorite stuffed animals, while those whose parents weren't able to bring in their pet offered photos of their animals for blessing.
    Page 2 of 2 - "Even children who didn't have any of the above, wrote their pet's name on a piece paper or drew a picture of their animal," said Jenny Randolph, the school's director of public relations. "We all draw such sustenance from our pets and stuffed animals, I think it's wonderful that everyone had someone, or something, they wanted to have blessed."
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