Centenary University plans to host a Blessing of the Animals in honor of Saint Francis Day and World Animal Day at 3 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 7, at the Centenary University Equestrian Center in Long Valley. Members of the community are invited to bring their pets to be blessed by University Chaplain Reverend Don Gebhard. Centenary University’s first year classes (AFC) will help organize the event and help out with grooming one of the University’s school horses to represent the teaching herd and receive the blessing on their behalf. Pets must be controlled on a leash or lead line, or kept in a carrier, tank, or cage.
The mission of World Animal Day, which is on Oct. 4, is to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilizing it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals. The same day is also recognized as Saint Francis of Assisi Day. It is customary that, in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures, animals participate in a Blessing of the Animals each year.
“This is a ceremony that we encourage our students, faculty, staff and neighbors to participate in,” says Dr. Lynn Taylor, professor of Equine Science at Centenary University. “We hope many people come out to make this day a special one. We think that stewardship and care for all living things is an important ideal that students can aspire to, and the realization of the many connections we have in this world to each other is something that grows and develops throughout our lives. Animals are our teachers here, and many of us consider our pets to be an integral part of the family.”
Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix is designed to provide an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world.