S.R. church holds pet blessing


MARIE ORTIZ Carol Labowicz, Spotswood, holds her dog, Beaches, for the Rev. Joe Patronik to bless at the blessing of the pets last weekend. MARIE ORTIZ Carol Labowicz, Spotswood, holds her dog, Beaches, for the Rev. Joe Patronik to bless at the blessing of the pets last weekend.

SOUTH RIVER — A local church held a ceremony Sunday to bestow blessings on pets.

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Leonardine Avenue, holds the pet blessing ceremony each year in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

Normally the church holds the ceremony inside, but decided to do things differently this year, Youth Minister Donna Srouji said.

"We’re pretty excited about it," she said.

Lizards, cats, dogs and other types of pets were blessed at the 30-minute outdoor event.

The Rev. Joe Patronik of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church performed the ceremony. Patronik said the tradition of blessing pets has been around for centuries and that the animals are blessed so that they may have strength and health for the upcoming year.

"Pets are an important part of life," said Patronik.

The feast of Saint Francis of Assisi was Tuesday, Oct. 4.