The 39th th Annual Blessing of the Animals &
Opening of Our Sacred Space To The Community
Sunday, May 1 - 3:00 - 4:00 pm
in St. Benedict's Courtyard
(enter at 222 W. 11th Street)
St. John's in the Village blesses our animal friends on Rogation Sunday. This year Rogation Sunday is May 1st. We bless the animals as a sign of our care for God's creation. In the Genesis story of creation, we were given dominion over creation, not mere domination but a responsibility for the animals, the plants, and indeed the whole earth. We have a sacred trust as co-creators with God. This day also provides the opportunity for the wider community to experience our sacred space.
What exactly is Rogation Day?
Rogation Day has an interesting history. Rogation Days, traditionally the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day, but extended to include the Sunday before, were, in medieval England, the time when the parish clergy went out and beat the bounds of the parish, praying for crops, herds and a productive harvest. In recent years, these days have become of interest to those concerned with ecology and preservation of the natural order. Most of us do not have a responsibility for crops and herds, but many of us live with animals (some having four legs) and so this day became associated in our parish with the blessing of pets and other domestic animals.
Our animals are important to us. Some hospitals invite trained pets into their wards and rooms, having observed that patients who play with and pet animals tend to recover more quickly. Many people rely upon service animals to assist in overcoming disabilities. For many others, our animals are our main connection to creation, other than the occasional potted plant. Having an animal for whom we care is a reminder that we similarly are called to care for all the created order because we are called to be stewards of creation. Although many parishes bless animals on St. Francis' Day, we keep Rogation Day because it connects us to an interesting English tradition and because during Eastertide, we are already giving thanks for God's new creation in the resurrection of Jesus which celebrates the restoration and renewal of all life. The animal blessing is held in St. Benedict's Courtyard, a delightful interior garden space within the St. John's Close.
This year we will be blessing any pets brought to us as long as they are alive--no blessing of ashes or stuffed animals, please! We will also not be able to bless any animal who cannot be present--pictures or proxies are not sufficient. Otherwise, all animals are welcomed here, as are their friends, the humans.