Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church - Hot Springs Village, AR
The Ladies of Sacred Heart kicked off the 2011-2012 year on September 12thby welcoming one of their own, Anne Dierks, to the podium for a humorous and enlightening presentation on Granny Camp, the title of Mrs. Dierks’ book on how to thoroughly enjoy and encourage summer visits by the grandchildren.  Her audience was inspired by the organizational tips, the ideas for simple yet totally enjoyable ways to entertain the youngsters, and how to inculcate family history, traditions, and values to the youngest generation.
Deacon John Froning presides over the Sacred Heart of Jesus “blessing of the pets”
Deacon John Froning presides over the Sacred Heart of Jesus “blessing of the pets”
On October 4 at 3:00 pm (the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals), Deacon John Froning presided over the Sacred Heart of Jesus “blessing of the pets”.  The pets to be blessed consisted of approximately 25 canines, all sizes great to small, all behaviors brave to timid, all personalities energetic to laid back, all ages young pups to sedate old timers, and all breeds from the easily identifiable to the inscrutable.  Gathered in the shade at the main entrance to the church, owners and their best friends listened as Deacon Froning read the biblical narrative of God’s creation and naming of all animals, and heard how mankind is served by all of God’s magnificent creation. 
After the prayers of thanksgiving to God for his goodness to humankind, the blessing was bestowed on each dog with a sprinkle of holy water to convey this holy act.  One adventurous Westie had already tasted the holy water before the ceremony actually began to ensure it was of the highest holiest quality.
It was obvious that the four-legged companions of Sacred Heart’s parishioners had already received the greatest blessing of being owned by very caring and devoted humans.  Several of the pets were adoptees from our local HSV shelter that now lived the good life, safe and cozy with owners who had seen their promise and picked them to share home and hearth.
As the dogs and owners headed back to cars after this blessing ceremony ended, if you looked very carefully you might have noticed little halos shined to perfection bobbing above each furry head.  After all the excitement, owners and pets looked forward to going home for some quiet restful naps.  And in their hearts, all were smiling.