Worshippers really raised the woof at Choral Evensong in Belfast Cathedral recently!
Dozens of doggies and a sprinkling of cats padded into St Anne’s for the Cathedral’s second annual Pet’s Service.
The animals were all very well behaved with some joining in heartily with the hymns and anthems. Others listened intently to the prayers and readings as they cuddled in their owners’ arms. Some others just wanted to strut their stuff down the aisle!
Dean Stephen Forde and Master of the Choristers David Stevens had selected appropriate readings, music and anthems for the service. David’s dog Xin help him conduct the choir, while Organ Scholar Jack Wilson’s dog Ted sat beside him at the organ all through the service!
The sermon was preached by Dean Forde, with reference to that well-known animal linguist Dr Doolittle!
At the end of the service, pets were invited to be individually blessed by members of the clergy. Dean Forde, the Rev Janice Elsdon, the Rev Ron Elsdon, the Rev Canon Mark Taylor and the Rev Paul Twomey did the blessings.
The Pet’s Service at Belfast Cathedral was appreciated by the many owners who attended.
It was a friendly, fun-filled service and many of those who attended expressed thanks to the Cathedral for organising it. Comments included: “It’s so nice to see our beloved companions being recognised,” and “Thank you for the opportunity to have our four legged friends acknowledged and blessed.”
Dean Forde said: “The blessing of pets gives us a wonderful opportunity to thank God for the gift of animals, and for us to ask God’s blessing on all that he has made. For some, our pets are as special to us as any member of our family. To some the animal by their side gives the gift of independent living. Many working animals save lives through search and rescue, while all working animals demand our respect and care.”
Dean Forde added: “And, in a global sense, we are all called to a greater care of the ecology and environment of the created world.”
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