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Comfort for Critters

~ Celebrating 12 Years & 74,000+ Blankets ~

The Blessing of Blankets

I am always so personally touched when I get to interact with CFC volunteers. The concern over the perfect blanket size, softest yarn to use and ensuring a box has made it safely to me, reveals the heart of the person. I’m always impressed. I’ve also heard from numerous volunteers that they pray for the pets, as they create the blankets, or offer a blessing over their creations once they are finished. I’ve never shared this idea with other volunteers, and wondered if now was the right time.

As I was mulling this over, I received an interesting email from a new volunteer in Arizona. For me it was an obvious sign that it’s concept I should share. That volunteer turned out to be Johannas Jordan, an Episcopal priest, working and living in Arizona. She works with two groups, comprised of women who have strong religious beliefs and are all social justice advocates. According to Reverend Jordan, “we see creating and donating material as part of our Baptismal covenant to seek and serve. We believe that each article we make is a way to share what God has blessed us with, and we want what we make to bring blessings to those who receive them.” Using what we’ve been given, to comfort those less fortunate, is at the heart of the CFC mission. We aim to comfort all those pets we can’t adopt (but wish we could!).

The concept of praying for the pets, as the blankets are created, and then blessing the blankets when finished, comes from the “prayer shawl” idea many churches embrace. I’ve seen the beautiful shawls created, and have been part of the church service when they are blessed. It’s quite moving. I think both practices are worth considering.

The blankets we make for pets, go beyond the physical comfort and warmth they will provide. They’re a gesture of love that we hope the pets, the families and the shelter workers all feel. Just like the prayer shawls, they are meant to bring some peace to the recipients. More than anything, they are a tangible reminder that they are loved and are not forgotten. They become special “blankies” which the pets get to take home, and the families will keep for many years, often even after the pet has passed away.

Reverend Jordan further explained to me that the individuals in her groups will pray for the recipient, although they obviously don’t know who will receive the blanket. I have to think that God has a way of matching things up for us. By visualizing, or thinking about homeless pets as we create blankets, we are adding a bit of love into every stitch. Marilynn, a friend of mine and long-time CFC volunteer, has told me how she pictures the pet who will receive her blanket, as she chooses colors and the design. She’ll create a strikingly bright red blanket, for a jet-black cat who may otherwise disappear into the back corner of their enclosure. So praying for the pet, can be as simple as holding them in your thoughts as you create your blanket.

Blessing the finished blankets, can be another practice you choose to embrace. For Jordan’s group, they send “blessings to the recipients with a formal spoken blessing by the group.” Her group blesses the blankets they make for animals because, in her words, “we regard all of God’s creation as needing prayers and blessings. Animals are certainly part of God’s creation!” Her faith tells her to care for, and respect, all of God’s creation. Amen to that!

Whatever prayer you’d like to come up with, will “work” just fine. I’m thankful for a God that sees clearly our intention, even as we stumble in our words. If you’d like a few ideas to get started, try one of these:

  • May God’s grace be upon this blanket. Warming, comforting, embracing. May it provide a sacred space of security and well-being. May the pet who receives this blanket be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced in peace and wrapped in His love.
  • May God’s grace be upon this blanket. May it be warm, comforting and embracing. As a pet enjoys this blanket, may those around them be surrounded by the love crafted into each stitch. May the pet, and all those who care for them, feel His love. May they know that our Lord has a special place in His heart for the animals created by His hand.

I believe that adding this extra touch of caring to our blankets will make a difference, in a world that truly needs it. Besides choosing the softest yarn or fleece, and making them the perfect size, the emotional value added to the item will be immeasurable. My thanks goes to Reverend Jordan for sharing her thoughts, and her faith, with me. I also would like to thank the many volunteers that have been doing this “blessing of the blankets” for years. They, and I, know that every kind thought and every prayful stitch HAS made a difference!  

 

 

Blessed blankets donated to the Arizona H.S. by the Phoenix Peace Pod.

Reverend Johannas Jordan hopes to get even more people and groups involved!

 

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