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Instruments of Hope Blessing of the Animals

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Instruments of Hope Continues Promoting Mission of Peace Through Blessing of the Animals
Map to Free Parking at Dominican Center.

Map to Free Parking at Dominican Center.

Instruments of Hope Continues Promoting Mission of Peace Through Blessing of the Animals,

featuring renowned flutist Carmen Maret as Pied Piper

Instruments of Hope, a Grand Rapids-based non profit organization dedicated to promoting peace through artistic endeavors in the Spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, invites owners to bring their companion pets to the ecumenical Blessing of The Animals. It will be held at 11 a.m., Oct. 5, at the barrier free St. Francis of Assisi Sculpture Garden for Prayer and Meditation located on the campus of the Dominican Center at Marywood, 2025 East Fulton Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan. United Methodist Pastor Ginny Mikita will officiate the blessing.

The blessing will include a Pied Piper procession, led by performer, composer, and concert organizer Carmen Maret, who is an endorsed Pearl Flute artist and Blue Griffin Recording artist who released her third CD with the nationally touring flute and guitar duo Folias that she co-founded with her husband, Andrew Bergeron, in 2004.

This is the third year Instruments of Hope has held the Blessing of The Animals at the St. Francis of Assisi Sculpture Prayer Garden. Previous blessings were held at St. Ann’s Home and the Waters Building. The event ties in to St. Francis' Feast Day, celebrated each year in October in commemoration of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment; and also the author of a number of hymns about animals and creation. The St. Francis of Assisi Sculpture Garden includes five of 24 statues planned, said Mic Carlson, a Grand Rapids artist and sculptor who has been commissioned to craft the statues.

“I have a kindred spirit with him,” Carlson said of St. Francis. Carlson in the fall of 2004 became the first American sculptor to produce 16 statues of St. Francis for an exhibit at the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi. Carlson personally met Pope Benedict XVI in the summer of 2008. Particularly moving for Carlson was a visit to the Church of San Damiano in Assisi, Italy where it is said St. Francis had a profound encounter with Christ.

The St. Francis of Assisi Sculpture Garden is a hand-in-glove fit for the Blessing of Animals. “The Oct. 5 blessing welcomes dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, bunnies, horses, goats, sheep, turtles, and any furry or non furry pet,” said Instruments of Hope Secretary Susan Evangelista. “People may also bring photographs of pets who are either deceased or critically ill.”

“I think a lot of unconditional love is given and received,” Instruments of Hope President Mark Siegrist said. “The blessing is given to all things valued and loved.”

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