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Blessing of the Animals

The Rev. Scott Oberle of First Congregational United Church of Christ and his dog, Chewbacca Onus Oberle (affectionately known as Chewie) are ready for the Blessing of Animals event at 2 p.m. June 3 in Fisher Park.



The animals coming to Fishel Park on June 3 won't be coming to board an ark or even to greet St. Francis.
But it will be a legacy of St. Francis of Assisi that brings pets to the park.
First Congregational United Church of Christ in Downers Grove will host a Blessing the Animals service at 2 p.m. June 3 in Fishel Park (behind the church) followed by individual blessings for pets.
"The idea is that God so loved the whole world, that God created and saw the world God created and it was good, and we are in relationship to that creation," said the Rev. Scott Oberle, who will officiated along with the Rev. Kirk Moore of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Downers Grove.
Oberle also noted pets are companions and friends, even family, to many people, and wants to recognize this bond between pet and owner.
This is not the first time First Congregational UCC has blessed animals in the park, and it also is nothing new for Oberle, who became senior pastor of the church in February.
On one past occasion in Palos Park, dogs were barking and sniffing and cats hissing, but when he announced it was time to pray for all our animals, it fell absolutely silent.
People are invited to bring their own pets, but asked to keep dogs and leashes, cats in carriers and smaller animals in shoe boxes or appropriate containers. In the past, Oberle has had kids bring shoe boxes with garter snakes, toads and frogs (all freshly caught), the more typical dogs and cats, and even weasels and ferrets.

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