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PORT ANGELES — The annual Blessing of the Animals recognizes the worth of creatures great and small, and celebrations were held across the North Olympic Peninsula last weekend to mark the Feast of St. Francis Assisi.
In Sequim, the ceremony took place at St. Luke's Episcopal Church on Sunday; in Forks, it was held at St. Anne's Catholic Church on Saturday. In Port Townsend, an animal blessing service took place at the Unity Church.
And in Port Angeles, the Rev. Jean Pierre Kalsonga came out to the parking lot behind Queen of Angels Catholic Church on South Oak Street to perform the ceremony after 11 a.m. Mass.
Accompanied by their owners, approximately a dozen dogs, two cats, a tortoise and even a horse were waiting to receive a blessing.
Among them was Zorba, a 10-year-old tortoise owned by Jean Cates of Port Angeles. Cates said it was the first time she had brought her pet to be blessed, but it was important that “God honors him as a tortoise.”
Other first-timers were Philip and Danielle Burnette of Port Angeles, who were there with their children Dallas, Gracie, Olivia and Connor, and their two cats Mac and Nightshade.
The Rev. Kalsonga was assisted by Joan Cates, leader of the Secular Franciscans, and Marybeth Barnell, leader of the St. Francis Guild.