Photos Jason D. Antonopoulos
A gathering of animal lovers assembled with their pets despite inclement weather at Trinity Lutheran Church, at 31-18 37th St. in Astoria, for the Blessing of the Animals ceremony performed by Pastor Paul B. Millholland. The event is held in commemoration of St. Francis of Assisi, who believed all creatures are part of God’s creation, and the unconditional love given and received from animals is a gift and part of the circle of life. Included in the short ceremony were several Bible verse readings. Many churches offer Blessing of the Animals ceremonies near or on St. Francis’ commemoration day. More than 200 pets were blessed, including dogs, cats, a parrot and even a turtle. 19p1.jpg

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