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Published: Saturday, 9/30/2006

Interfaith pet-blessing service to be held in International Park

The annual citywide interfaith Blessing of Animals service, sponsored by the St. Paschal Fraternity of Secular Franciscans, will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Gazebo in International Park.

The service is in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the 12th century Italian saint and patron saint of animals. It is for all types of pets including dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, rabbits, turtles, and horses.

Gerald Mazuchowski, a member of the St. Paschal Fraternity of Secular Franciscans, said the group has invited the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to bring its animals to the blessing ceremony. The circus is performing at the Toledo Sports Arena, across the street from International Park, through Monday.

The service will include song, story, and prayer and conclude with the release of "Doves of Peace."

Pet-blessing services are also scheduled at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 2272 Collingwood Blvd., at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow and Collingwood United Methodist church, 701 Phillips Ave., at 6:30 Wednesday. People who don't feel comfortable bringing their pets to the services can bring photographs of the animals instead.

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