Creatures big and small gathered at St. Paul Luthern Church this weekend to receive a special blessing.

The church held its annual Blessing of the Animals on Saturday. The custom is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for animals. Francis’ feast day is Oct. 4.

“We’ve done the Blessing of the Animals every year, and I love it. It’s just a wonderful thing that St. Paul does for the animals, the congregation and for the neighborhood,” said Frank Tumminia, who took his two King Charles spaniels to the event.

“We do this every year, and we find it important that we bless our animals who take care of us when we need them,” said Lydia Gerstenberger.

Donations made during the event benefitted the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare.

“I’m representing FOTAS. The organization does such wonderful work by trying to make the animals more comfortable, increasing the odds of adoption, and so the blessing is a great opportunity to show our support,” said Friends of the Animal Shelter volunteer Jane Williams.

In addition to more common fare like dogs, Brandee Desmarias’ horse was blessed on Saturday.

“I always bring my animals here so they can get the attention they deserve and they can be blessed by God. I think this event gives all of our animals a better life in some way,” said Brandee Desmarias.