A special event to bless the animals at Rolling Hills Zoo is planned for this weekend.
According to the zoo, on Saturday the Very Rev. Benjamin Thomas, Th.D. of Christ Episcopal Cathedral, will perform a blessing of the animals at Rolling Hills Zoo.
Father Thomas will visit the tigers, primates, giraffes, and rhinos, and finish with the penguins at Penguin Landing. The blessings throughout the zoo with begin at 2:45. Guests are invited to participate in the blessing by Father Thomas at 3:30 p.m. at the Penguin Exhibit.
Guests are also invited to bring their own pets to Christ Cathedral on Sunday, October 6th at 2:00 p.m. for a blessing of the animals.
The blessing of animals in honor of St. Francis (d.1226) developed as a direct result of St. Francis’s own understanding of the kinship shared by humans with all other creatures by virtue of having the same creator, God. Francis, who founded the Franciscan Order, was a great lover of animals and is even said to have preached to the birds about their duty to praise God. Although the specific customs about blessing animals vary from place to place, one common feature is that prayers are offered not only for the animals themselves but also for the people who care for them.
“We are thrilled to have Father Thomas be here for this special blessing of not only the animals, but the keepers who provide such great care of our animals”, said Rolling Hills Marketing Director, Vickee Spicer. “It’s been years since we’ve had a blessing of the animals at the Zoo and look forward to continuing the tradition”.
The Very Rev. Benjamin Thomas, Th.D. has been the Dean and Rector of Christ Cathedral since 2010. Previously, he served as Assistant Rector at Grace Church in New York, New York, and prior to his service at Grace Church, he was a pastoral intern at churches in both Colorado and New York. Father Thomas earned his M.Div. and Th.D. from the General Theological Seminary in New York. He also earned an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion from the University of Colorado-Boulder.