PORTLAND — Fr. Lou Phillips, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Windham, Westbrook, and Gorham, will bless the animals at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland’s Arthur P. Girard Adoption Center (217 Landing Road in Westbrook) on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 10:30 a.m. The special event is in honor of the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, who was known for his love of all of God’s creatures. 

“We were looking to do a different, non-traditional blessing of pets this year. We reached out to the animal shelter, and they were very receptive to the idea,” said Fr. Lou. “We thought that those potential adoptee pets are in most need of a blessing.” 

The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland is a nonprofit animal shelter serving more than 4,000 homeless and displaced animals annually. The shelter aims to nurture the connection between people and pets to advance animal welfare and improve the quality of life in our communities.

“Our parish will also sponsor a donation drive for dog and cat food, blankets, and toys to benefit the shelter,” said Fr. Lou. “We’ll bring the donations with us for the blessing.”

Blessing of the Animals services invoke God’s blessing on the animals and thank God for letting us share the earth. The blessing also recognizes the important place that pets hold in people’s hearts.

For more information about the shelter and ways in which you can help its mission, visit the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland website at www.arlgp.org.