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St. Philip’s Episcopal New Hope schedules pet blessing, festival

St. Philip’s motto, “All are welcome,” takes on new meaning as the church invites people and their pets for a special St. Francis Day blessing at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, on the labyrinth outside the church, located at 10 Chapel Road in New Hope.

In past years, the Rev. Michael Ruk, rector of St. Philip’s, has blessed dogs, cats, horses, chickens and even a tarantula. (People may also bring photos of deceased pets they want blessed.)

The ritual dates to medieval times when Francis of Assisi, an Italian friar, wandered the Umbrian countryside with a message of simplicity and love for all of God’s creation. Today, St. Francis is considered the patron saint of the environment as well as animals.

The event – part of St. Philip’s celebration of “Care of Creation Fest” – is free and open to the public. The blessing itself takes only a moment.
To participate, simply bring your animal companion on a leash, in a carrier or whatever is appropriate for his or her safety and comfort.

For information about St. Philip’s, contact Ruk at 215-862-5782 or