HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Pets are a blessing to many of us, which is why one Hastings church is returning the favor.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church hosted their annual pet blessing Sunday after their 10 a.m. service. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)
You could find all kinds of pets from dogs, to cats and even a miniature pig at St. Mark's Episcopal Church Sunday morning. Their owners brought them in for the church's annual pet blessing, which they've had for more than 50 years.
"Pets are apart of our family. They're like our own children, or our brothers and sisters," said Dean Katie Hargis, St. Mark's Episcopal Church. "You know, we come to church for our own needs. To make us feel better. This is also another way we can include them in our church family."
For the second year in a row, pets sat through the hour-long service at the church before the blessing.
St. Mark's has the pet blessing every year on the first Sunday in October. It's always around the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, who was known for his love of animals.
Hargis said the pet blessing is meant to honor St. Francis, but there are several reasons the St. Mark's has kept the tradition alive for five decades.
"It's especially important to me, because I was always raised with having rescue dogs, and I think it's a way to bring awareness about how we can help pets. We can rescue them. We get to show off all of our animals to our friends," Hargis said.
If you missed the pet blessing Sunday, Hargis said you can bring your pet by any time to get blessed.
You can call the church at (402) 462-4126 to schedule the blessing.