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Blessed be the animals

Liz Wilson, pastor of Immanuel Congregational United Church of Christ, reaches down to bless Bishop, a gentle St. Bernard owned by Addison Township resident Art Nagasaki. Watching in the background are Pontiac residents Ken and Tammy Martin with their dog Juliette, who's a Corgi-Papillon. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
October 16, 2013 - The spirit of unconditional love visited Immanuel Congregational United Church of Christ in Oxford Sunday as Pastor Liz Wilson held a Blessing of the Pets.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes were blessed as their owners beamed with pride and affection for their furry companions.

Wilson said God created animals and gave us the ability to domesticate them because He knew life on Earth was going to be "tough" for humans and they would need "support and cuddling and loving" to cope with it.

"God loves us, we love them and then, they look back at us with God's love in their eyes," she said. "It's a wonderful thing. That's my theological theory and I'm sticking with it."

During her sermon, Wilson spoke of the life of St. Francis of Assisi, an Italian friar and preacher who lived from 1181 or 1182 until 1226. Even though he was Catholic, Wilson referred to him as "the Protestants' favorite saint."

Born into a family of wealth and privilege, St. Francis gave us these worldly trappings to live a life of poverty and humility.

St. Francis had a great love for animals and the natural world. In 1979, Pope John Paul II declared St. Francis to be the Patron of Ecology. Today, St. Francis is often portrayed in statues with animals such as birds and rabbits.

"The older he got, the more humble he became, the more he loved the animals and the more they loved him," Wilson said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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