Special blessing for animals to be held in Kensal Green church
PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 September 2015 | UPDATED: 10:33 21 September 2015
A special blessing service for much loved pets who bring joy or who have died is to be held in Kensal Green.
The service at St Martin’s Anglican Church in Mortimer Road, is an annual event now in its 16th year timed with the feast of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.
Attended by animal lovers from Brent and neighbouring boroughs, the service provides an opportunity for pet owners of whatever denomination to come together and celebrate the special relationship they have with their pet.
Originally held at the Mayhew Animal Home in nearby Trenmar Gardens, the service was moved to the church six years ago because it outgrew the premises of the sanctuary.
Reverend Graham Noyce, vicar at St Martins said they predominantly get people with dogs coming but there are also cats, rabbits “and the odd gerbil or hamster in a cage”. He added: “It’s great fun. You can never be sure what and who are going to turn up.
“It’s very moving aswell. People who have lost a pet are invited to bring a photo so when people come to have their animal blessed, they can bring their picture and a prayer of thanksgiving is said. You can see how moved people are because these pets are very important to them, they are very strong, deep relationships.”
Resident James Hogan, who lives on College Road, founded the event when an employee at the Mayhew Animal Home.
The agnostic, who believes “there is something” but is tied to no religion, said: “I did it because it’s an aspect of animal welfare that is overlooked. There are so many issues people working in animal welfare have to deal with and this little thing is almost viewed as a luxury.”
Still working on animal welfare projects, the 69-year-old has been involved with a convent in Russia where nuns have established a sanctuary for abused and unwanted animals.
He said: “The mother superior and the nuns are passionate about animal welfare. They look after all the animals and are very professional.”
All pets are welcome but if the pet is nervous a photo can be displayed and blessed during the service.
Those unable to attend can send the name and some details of their pet for inclusion in the service.
St Martins Anglican Church, Mortimer Road, October 3 at 2pm. Proceeds to the retiring collection all goes to the Russian convent.