favorite only reason to go near a church is happening on Sunday… The Blessing of the Animals at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a truly awesome fun time involving the beloved pets of the city (along with music, food, and goodness), all in honor of St. Francis “Fra. Doolittle” of Assisi. I’m serious here, people, it’s like a Medieval Faire [sic] wherein you’ll find camels and llamas and parrots and dogs and cats and hamsters, all of them waiting in line to be blessed by Episcopal priests in their fanciest vestments. Once the animal has been blessed, it has a three-hour window in which to tell its person how it really feels.
(My wife tells the story of being at the Blessing of the Animals in 2001, less than a month after 9/11, when they blessed all kinds of rescue dogs who’d been working at the WTC site. The church was packed and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.)