PORTLAND — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is offering its annual blessing of the animals at several local churches. The event is held to honor St. Francis of Assisi, whose Feast Day is Oct. 4, while also recognizing the important place that pets hold in people’s hearts.

While all pets are welcome to attend the blessing, they must be properly secured at all times. During the ceremony, prayers are offered and each pet will be gently sprinkled with holy water.

Scheduled blessings will take place as follows:
Oct. 5 – 9 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 326 Main St., Yarmouth; 10 a.m. at St. Pius X, 492 Ocean Ave., Portland; 11 a.m. at St. Bartholomew’s, 8 Two Lights Road, Cape Elizabeth
Oct. 6 – 12:30 p.m., St. John’s Community Center, 43 Pleasant St., Brunswick; 2 p.m., St. Joseph’s, 225 South High St., Bridgton; 3 p.m., St. Hyacinth’s, 268 Brown St., Westbrook
Oct. 19 – 10 a.m., St. Louis, 279 Danforth St., Portland

As more gatherings are confirmed they’ll be added to the schedule, which can be found online at www.portlanddiocese.org.