At 9 a.m., The Rev. Ann Ritonia presided over a very special Sunday service at the Church of the Good Shepherd.
Surrounding her on the floor, about a dozen children listened intently to the story of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, while in the wooden pews, several four-legged congregants sat, stayed and shook their bushy tails as they greeted others.
After the story, the children returned to their seats and it was the animals’ turn to step up to the front.
One-by-one Rev. Ann greeted the pets and their human companions and blessed each for a happy, healthy year together.
When every pet had been blessed, the service continued with communion and song and then the children were invited to have some donuts and the dogs were treated to homemade dog cookies.