Kathleen Burton

Kathleen Burton

Franciscan friar to bless pets

Blessing of the Pets takes place at Mount St. Mary Hospital on Oct. 4

Pets are an integral part of many people’s lives, and this October, pet owners will get the chance to have their animals blessed by a Franciscan friar. Mount St. Mary Hospital is hosting its first-ever Blessing of the Pets on Oct. 4.

“I hope we get some interesting critters come out,” said Kathleen Burton, executive director of Mount St. Mary Hospital.

Father Dan Gurnich, who will be one of the friars blessing the pets, has done similar events in other cities. The most unique animal he has blessed so far, is a group of pet hermit crabs.

Pet blessings will be done by donation, with all the money going towards programs at the hospital such as the Caring Hearts fund, music therapy, pet therapy and pastoral care.

Burton said she hopes the event will also raise awareness about Mount St. Mary Hospital, which houses 200 residents who are no longer able to care for themselves.

Besides the pet blessings, there will also be displays from various pet stores and organizations such as the SPCA, and pet-related loot bags for everyone who comes.

“The blessings are more for the benefit of the people,” said Gurnich. “It is to be grateful for all of creation.”

Everyone who has their pet blessed will receive a certificate with their pet’s name on it. Blessings will also be done in remembrance of previous pets.

The event is on Saturday, Oct. 4 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Blondin Green garden at Mount St. Mary Hospital at 861 Fairfield Rd. in Victoria.