Submitted by Scott Trefz, CAAC Communications Chairman

What started out as just Trinity Episcopal Church’s annual Blessing of the Animals near the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi grew into a much larger event this past Saturday, Oct. 2. Trinity member Ned Tudi wanted to also incorporate recognition and support for area veterans; Trinity Rector Fr. Jim Heidt readily agreed, and so “Blessing the Pets /Honoring the Vets” was born. Under Ned’s organization, the American Legion Post 140 agreed to provide their ample parking lot as a venue, and representatives from nearby VFW Post 600 and Clear Path for Veterans quickly joined-up, as well.

The animal theme of the day was further supported by Wanderers Rest Humane Assn., who brought 4 cats and a puppy for potential adoption. Further adding to the festivities was a bocce match coincidentally being held at the Legion’s two adjacent courts. The Madison County Buncha Fun Rollers, an organization of young handicapped citizens coached by Mike & Lani Seifert, were practicing for their State tournament later this month, and were invited over by Fr. Heidt to enjoy the festivities and refreshments that Trinity Episcopal was providing. Trinity cooked delicious Hot Dogs, made fresh cotton candy, and gave out bottled water, all free of charge.

Pastor Heidt warmly greeted and prayed for each pet that folks brought to be blessed, including some shy ‘drive-thru’ dogs that came in cars by way of a special loop in the parking lot. In all about 25 pets came through to be blessed, as well as the 5 perspective pets from Wanderers Rest.

Interesting presentations were made by VFW Post Commander Ret. Master Sergeant John Osborne and Clear Path for Veterans Canine Companion Director Ryan Woodruff, who shared the stage with his current dog-in-training, Shilo. Wanderers Rest volunteer representative Butch Hall spoke about the opportunities and needs of the county’s animal shelter. (There are currently 70 cats and 30 dogs available for adoption, so please feel free to stop by and apply for a new pet if you have room in your heart and home.) Event organizer Ned Tudi kept a track of patriotic music playing in between introductions of the featured speakers, while hosting Legion Deputy Post Commander John Osborne kept things moving smoothly behind the scenes throughout the 2-hour event. Blessing the Pets / Honoring the Vets was a wonderful event that deserves to become a tradition in Canastota, a warm and inviting affair that Fr. Jim hopes brings the Church and community closer together. (Trinity Episcopal Church is a vital member of the Canastota Area Association of Churches.)

By martha

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