Saturday, October 8th, 2022
11:00 am – 4:00 pm
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 10 Chapel Road, New Hope, PA
On Saturday, October 8, St. Philip’s annual “Creation Fest” will kick off at 11 a.m. with a blessing of the animals on the church’s outdoor labyrinth; pet blessings will continue for the duration of the event. Other activities include a bake sale, tag sale, pet adoptions and activities for kids at Magill’s Hill Park, directly across the street from the church. The festivities will close out with a live folk concert on the labyrinth at 3 pm. The event is free and open to the public.
The blessing of animals is part of St. Philip’s annual celebration of creation season and dates to medieval times when Francis of Assisi, an Italian monk, wandered the Umbrian countryside with a message of simplicity and love for all of God’s creation. Today, St. Francis is considered the patron saint of the environment as well as animals.
Critters, collectibles and conservation
In that spirit, the October 8 event will include a vintage-clothing swap, a tag sale of gently used items, free information on sustainable living and reusable cloth bags featuring St. Philip’s labyrinth-logo. “The aim is to help people help the Earth, our fragile island home, by practicing the four R’s of environmental stewardship: reduce, reuse, repair and recycle,” said Father Michael Ruk, rector of St. Philip’s. Folksinger and Bucks County Community College Professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy David Brahinsky will perform songs with environmental (“Old Man River”) and other themes (Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy; Phil Ochs’s “Bracero”).
In past years, Father Michael has blessed dogs, cats, horses, chickens and even a tarantula. Each blessing takes only a moment. To participate, people should bring their companion animal on a leash, in a carrier or whatever is appropriate for his or her safety and comfort. People may also bring photos of deceased pets they want blessed. While the blessing ritual will take place at 11:00, people may wander by any time before the start of the concert to have Michael bless their pet.