Every once in a while, someone enters my life and brings into it much more meaning than I would have every thought possible. That’s how it was with Fr. John. From my initial greeting with Fr. John Allen, I knew that he was a unique, spiritual guide and man. There was a twinkle in his eye, a sincerity in his voice and his Irish Wolfhound puppy was sporting a different kind of collar – that of a priest! You see, Flynn works the spiritual side of life with Fr. John. They’re a team and Fr. John understands the talents that his spiritual partner brings to the table.
As I conversed with Fr. John, he asked me to photograph them together, and then wondered if I’d be interested in helping them out at their upcoming Barks at St. Mark’s (2011) at his church, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (1314 E. Rawson Ave. South Milwaukee). Click HERE for directions.
Remember I said he had a twinkle in his eye? Barks at St. Mark’s is a Sunday church service, held outside, under a large tent, and it’s EXPECTED that you bring your dog/cat/pet. In fact, Fr. John tells me that pets are welcomed on any Sunday during the year – inside or out – not just to celebrate St. Francis of Assisi of the Barks event. Fr. John knows and lives inside the healing, nurturing world of pets, year round!
Last year the weather was beautiful and people/pets of all shapes and sizes (cats were there too) came forward during the service for a communion (dog/cat biscuits) and a personal blessing from Fr. John. I loved what I saw that day and I teared up a bit when some of the older dogs stepped forward for his blessing, knowing they were one step closer to meeting their maker.
This year’s event is next Sunday, June 10th and I’ll be there at 8:30 in the morning to photograph your and your dog, inside, BEFORE the mass starts at 9:00 a.m. I’ll be photographing again AFTER the mass until 11:00 a.m. Due to the number of people/pets wanting to be photographed, these will be “quick takes” of about 5 minutes. You may want to brush up on your sit/stay, or down/stays prior the event. Images will be available online for ordering/delivery. Parking is available in the back but you may find street parking more convenient. Be careful exiting your pet from your vehicle, as it can be a busy street!
Following the blessing, there will be a complimentary picnic provided by the members of St. Mark’s parish, and you can browse some of the pet-friendly businesses that will also be there. If you were a participant of Barks at St. Mark’s 2011, post a comment and tell others about your experience!
For those who are photographed, a $15 donation is required. This donation goes to helping St. Mark’s provide assistance to those in their community who have pets but have trouble meeting the financial responsibilities of veterinary care, medications, food, etc. You can make your check out to St. Mark’s Church. Cash is also accepted. You will be notified via email when your images are ready to viewed online.
As there will be a number of dogs there, it’s requested that dogs be leashed and up to date on their vaccinations.
See you on June 12th!!