The Blessing of the Animals

For more than twenty years, Emmanuel Episcopal Church has hosted a Blessing of the Animals in early October near the Feast Day of St. Francis’ Day. Since 2018 this event has been jointly hosted with the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM). In 2019, 94 dogs, including a retired military dog, 5 horses, 6 cats, an African Parrot, an owl, a rabbit and several toy animals took part.

This year the Blessing of the Animals will take place in the parking area of NSLM, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, rain or shine. We welcome animals of any kind, great or small. Animals will remain in cars and be driven past the ecumenical team of clerics, who will administer the blessings through car windows. Large animals in trailers (e.g. horses, cattle) will be directed to a special parking area, where they will remain in their trailers while being blessed. Volunteers will be on hand to direct traffic and hand out goody bags.


Animals sequestering at home can receive their blessings online. A minister will conduct individual blessings to all participants joining virtually. To receive the zoon link or to ask questions about the virtual blessing email .

Blessings will be given by ministers, priests and a rabbi from area congregations. Rabbi Rose Lyn Jacob of Madison County, Pastor Tracey Lyons of Mt. Zion–Willisville Chapel Cooperative Parish (UMC), Father Christopher Murphy of St. Stephen the Martyr Roman Catholic Church in Middleburg, and Pastor Herman Nelson of Shiloh Baptist Church, Middleburg, will co-officiate The Blessing of the Animals with the Rev. LeCouteur.

“Last year, we had 180 people and more than 100 animals,” said the Rev. LeCouteur. “Thanks to the hospitality of the NSLM, our new faith partners and the new format, we hope to bless even more of our animal friends this year.”

The NSLM is at 102 The Plains Road, just off Route 50 in Middleburg. For more information, call (540) 687-6297 or go to Facebook at