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St. Francis celebrates animals with events, blessing

SF organist to perform on Sunday

St. Francis celebrates animals with events, blessing

Minister Provincial of the Americas Brother Jude Hill blesses “Zoe,” a Great Dane owned by the Lee family, during a 2011 Blessing of the Animals event St. Francis held in conjunction with Light of ...

POSTED October 4, 2013 11:49 p.m.

Humans won't be the only ones in church on Sunday, at least at Turlock's St. Francis Episcopal Church.

The church is holding a Celebration of Animals this weekend in honor of its namesake's saint day, and as a special homecoming. The congregation recently returned to its original church building at 915 E. Main St. in Turlock.

Events include presentations from a dog trainer, veterinarian author and local 4-H club, all set for today. On Sunday, pets will then be welcomed at church for an official blessing.

Rev. Kathie Galicia said St. Francis Episcopal has been celebrating St. Francis Day with special animal blessing ceremonies for many years.

"Saint Francis is one of the most popular saints in the world; and now that the Pope took his name, even more people know about him," said Galicia.

Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and founder of the Franciscan Order. He was pronounced a saint by Pope Gregory IX 1228. He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment, and is one of the two patron saints of Italy.

The events will begin today with a dog training demonstration by Augusta Farley at 1 p.m.  Farley specializes in training canines for law enforcement agencies. Sacred Heart 4-H will do a presentation of animals (including guinea pigs, chickens, goats and rabbits) at 2 p.m. Gilroy veterinarian and author Greg Martinez will talk about pet care and nutrition and his book, "Feed Your Pet and Avoid the Vet!," at 3 p.m.

On Sunday, a special blessing of the animals church service will be held at 10 a.m.

Rev. Galicia will lead the service, and Bishop Chet Talton of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and the Friars of San Damiano Friary in San Francisco will be present for this special service.

Also on Sunday, St. Francis will welcome featured organist David H. Douma.

Douma will be featured in a recital at 3 p.m. Sunday at the church and he will also be the guest organist at the parish’s 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist. All are welcome to attend both the morning liturgy and the afternoon recital.

Douma is Minister of Music and Organist of Saint Giles’ Episcopal Church, Moraga. A former resident of Stanislaus County, he was Organist and Choirmaster of Saint Francis Episcopal Church, Turlock, from 1991 to 2000, and for 15 years prior to his ministry in Turlock he was Organist of College Avenue Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) in Modesto.

He will be performing unusual and seldom-heard works by Gaston Bélier, Michel Corrette, Johann Gottlieb Janitsch, Johann Sebastian Bach, Richard Purvis, Félix-Alexandre Guilmant, Vicenzo Bellini, Robert Lau, Louis Vierne and Franz Liszt.

Saint Francis Parish’s unique 1952 Schoenstein pipe organ was rebuilt 13 years ago to specifications designed by Douma, and his recital is in celebration of the Episcopalians’ recent return to their church property.


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