Even a pandemic will not deter Belfast Cathedral in its annual mission to bless our pets at this time of the year.
The Pets’ Service returns on Sunday October 4 but, given the current Covid-19 restrictions, it will look a little different.
The Cathedral’s first Blessing of the Pets’ Service was held in 2017, and since then it has been a popular annual event in the calendar of pet lovers from Belfast and far beyond.
Every year, more than 100 animal lovers attend with pets of all shapes and sizes to enjoy a magnificent service of music and give thanks for their furry, feathered, scaled or shelled companions.
The Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev Stephen Forde, was keen to not miss this special event entirely, even though restrictions mean it cannot follow its usual format.
Instead, coinciding with St Francis of Assisi Day, Dean Forde and Dean’s Vicar, the Rev Canon Mark Niblock, will be on the steps of St Anne’s on October 4 between 2pm and 3pm. They are encouraging people to bring their pets to receive a blessing during this time.
Dean Forde said: “Although we cannot have our annual Pets’ Service this year, due to the Covid restrictions, we still want to recognise how significant people’s pets have been to them, particularly during the months of lockdown.
“We hope by welcoming people and their pets on the steps of the Cathedral for this simple blessing, we are able to offer members of the public an alternative to our extremely successful Pets’ Service.
“This opportunity for thanksgiving and blessing celebrates the importance of pets and working animals in the lives of so many people in these very difficult times.”