Animals (usually) behave during ceremony

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The legacy of St. Francis of Assisi lives on at St. David of the Hills Episcopal Church. With the Blessing of Animals ceremony, the church celebrates the feast of St. Francis in style Oct. 6.

“We bring our companion animals and big grazing beasts to the ceremony,” said Carolynne Forster, the church's senior warden.

With four dogs and a cat, Forster is selective, believes in setting boundaries. “I bring pictures of my cranky old dog and kitty because they aren't in to going to church,” she said.

While St. Francis is usually portrayed, in sculptures and paintings, with animals, the church takes a certain risk in honoring the man known for his benevolence.

“It's so amazing,” Forster said. “The animals line up on the porch and I swear they know we're in church. We've never had a skirmish, a snarly lip, everybody's on their best behavior.”

The church does not discriminate. “We have dogs sitting next to cats, dogs sitting next to dogs, fish, birds, and everybody just gets along,” Forster said.

The ceremony takes off at 11:30 a.m., after the regular Sunday service. “We gather on the porch and bring the big guys onto the field, the grassy area behind the church,” she said. “We've got plenty of room and have been blessed with good weather over the past several years.”

St. David's is at W. U.S. 24 and Edlowe Rd. in Woodland Park.

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