I went to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine this Sunday to attend the Blessing of the Animals. The first Sunday in October is closest to the feast day for St. Francis, and for the last 22 years, the CoSt.JtD has involved exotic animals in their regular service on that day, and invited all New Yorkers to bring their pets to the church to be blessed during an outdoor fair afterward.
According to Paul Winter, the cathedral’s Artist-in-Residence who very graciously agreed to let me interview him afterward, the BotA is the most well-attended service the church holds every year. “Bigger than Christmas?", I asked. He nodded.
(I should note here that I grew up listening to Paul Winter’s music, and getting to sit on a step and bum double-A batteries off him before interviewing him for 10 minutes was an awesome treat.)
I’m attempting to cut together an audio account of Sunday’s ceremony, though without the justification of a class assignment, it’s a little hard to find the time.