It is said that dogs have masters but cats have staff. At the Washington National Cathedral, a cat is a member of the staff. During this weekend's Blessing of the Animals on the Feast of St. Francis, there will be a changing of the guard.
Washington National Cathedral’s 2010 Blessing of the Animals will officially welcome Carmina, the new Cathedral cat adopted by the Cathedral Choral Society from the Washington Humane Society (WHS). The event marks the seven hundred thirty-fourth anniversary of the death of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment, whose feast day the Cathedral celebrates with its Blessing of the Animals service on Sunday, October 3, at 2:30 pm, on the Cathedral’s west steps. All pets and their caretakers are invited to attend.
“Carmina takes the place of Catherine of Tarragon, the much-beloved Cathedral cat who has retired in her old age to a home in North Carolina,” said Cathedral Choral Society staffer Victoria Chamberlin.
Chamberlin led the charge for the Choral Society, the resident symphonic chorus of the Cathedral, to adopt Carmina during its audience sing-along of Carmina Burana last June.
“WHS rescued Carmina and her litter of week-old kittens from a deserted parking lot in Southeast D.C.,” said WHS spokesperson Sabrina Fang. “We’re thrilled that Carmina has found a home as beautiful as the National Cathedral.” All of Carmina’s kittens have found adoptive homes.
Lois Wye, board member of the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL) will participate in the brief service led by the Rev. Gwendolyn W. Tobias, along with Christine Gutleben of the Humane Society of the United States. Following the service, attendees may present their companion animals for individual blessings by Cathedral clergy.
Surely the National Cathedral is not the only Episcopal church blessed with a staff cat or parish dog. Tell us of the animals who grace your congregation.