The nonprofit Community Action Team (CAT) invites the public to take their pets to the annual, free interfaith pet blessing at the beach at sunset on Saturday, Oct. 6. Ponies, donkeys, alpacas, llama, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens and horses will be there, too. The event is co-sponsored by 3rd District Councilmember Gary DeLong.
More than 300 animals are expected to attend the 11th annual “Interfaith Blessing of the Animals,” which will take place on the concrete boat launch ramp at 1 Granada Ave. in Belmont Shore, next to Rosie’s Dog Beach. Beachfront parking is free at 1 Granada Ave. after 6pm.
It’s one of the largest blessings of pets in the world, according to CAT founder Justin Rudd. The Blessing in Long Beach is typically held on St. Francis Day weekend. St. Francis is the patron saint of animals. The event is always free to the public and their pets.
“It’s important to recognize and honor the great bond and relationship between pets and their people,” Rudd said.
The procession of animals down a 100-foot red carpet will start at 6:15pm, and the approximately 30-minute ceremony takes place as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean.
As with years past, clergy will include a variety of faiths, including a Roman Catholic priest from St. Bart’s in Belmont Shore, a representative from the Baha’I Faith, the pastor from Pueblo de Dios Lutheran Church in Compton, the pastor from Bixby Knolls Christian Church, a reverend from Centers for Spiritual Living, a pastor from Parkcrest Church, a Jewish educator from the Barbara and Ray Alpert Jewish Community Center and a reverend from the Universal Life Church. (Other faith leaders were expected to be added by press time.)
There will be a moment of blessing, silence and vigil at the beginning of the service for pets who are unfortunately involved with sport dog fighting and other inhumane, unethical treatment. The religious leaders will talk and pray briefly on the interconnections among all living beings.
After brief words from each of the faith leaders, the menagerie of participants will have the opportunity to line up single-file to be blessed by the faith leaders who will be dressed in traditional garb. Olive branches and holy water will be available. Those with pets can choose to get blessed by one or all of the clergy.