Religious or not, you have to admire what The Church of St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland is doing in Alexandria, Virginia. Bless the Animals Alexandria is a special project, not only for the animals but for the people involved, and the people affected by its generosity and caring.
The mission of this project is to offer prayers and blessings for the sick and injured, help with the pain of pet loss, offer pet caretaking to those who may be temporarily home-bound and to provide a means for homeless animals to find the love they so deserve. Their goal is also to prevent any animal from being given up due to lack of resources or physical need. A big undertaking, but with volunteers who take the time to assist, it is happening. There is an understanding that compassion and love extends to all creatures in this world, and that everyone needs a helping hand at some point in their life.
The project includes several programs designed to help a variety of situations. The “Angels Database” is available for anyone who may need assistance and matches them up with suitable volunteers. For those who wish to have a personal pet blessing, a priest is available to make in-home visits or perform a blessing at the church. They offer a group setting for individuals who may need help with the emotional stress of losing their pet. As well, they partner with local rescue groups who hold events and fundraisers.
Because homeless animals are part of the big picture, the project work with Animal Allies is an important aspect of the mission. Fostering a cat through Animal Allies is made easy, with a commitment of several weeks to several months. The most difficult part of the process is saying goodbye to your new friend, but knowing that you have made a difference and saved a life makes it worth it in the end. And, there is always another cat that is in need to take its place.
On October 1st, 2011 they will be holding a Blessing of the Animals at the church in honor of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. All pets are welcome…even snakes and fish! Other activities will also be included for adults and children, and lots of love to go around for all.
As Reverend Nick C. Athanaelos so perfectly states: The Scriptures tell us that all of God’s creation blesses the Lord including “the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the creatures of the sea.” This outreach project is a perfect example of community and spirituality making a difference for all.