Shrewsbury’s First Congregational Church holds its first ‘Blessing of the Animals’


By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Angel and Ranger with handlers Alyssa McGlory and Naomi Racicot; and Deb DelDotto and her grandkids Drea and Dylan.

Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury Town Common is a popular place for events to be held during the year. On the morning of Oct. 4 there was an unusual type of gathering as people of all ages were joined by very special family members – dogs, cats, a bunny, ponies and even a turtle, as part of the “Blessing of the Animals.”

The event, hosted by the clergy of the First Congregational Church, was held in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, who was well known for his love of animals.

The Rev. Lynne Dolan accompanied by the Rev. Dr. James Matarazzo, performed the blessing during their regular Sunday service held on the Common. They have been holding their services outdoors since the beginning of summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Enniah Scott with her stuffed animal that had just been blessed

Two ponies, Angel and Ranger, from Ridge Valley Stables of Grafton, also were present. Several children had the opportunity to have an escorted pony ride on the Town Common.

Photos of pets were blessed for those who were unable to bring them. Lynn Tedeschi, a volunteer with the Worcester Animal Rescue League, brought a book of their pets to be blessed as well.


Photos/Melanie Petrucci

Charlie Simpson astride one of the ponies
Vern the Turtle being blessed by Rev. Dr. James Matarazzo and Rev. Lynne Dolan.
Fritz about to be blessed with his owner Richard Ricker.
Gemma and Marvel with Marvel’s owner Noah Garvin
Marvel and Bella making friends