Blessings and Barks as Mill Neck Manor Recognizes Animal Companions

Mill Neck, NY — October 25, 2021 — Dazzling sunshine graced the Mill Neck Manor campus on a recent Saturday morning. The initial quiet soon gave way to an intermittent chorus of barking dogs as nearly 35 canines and their human companions gathered for Mill Neck’s first Blessing of the Animals. Pastor Anthony Giordano, the new Director of Lutheran Friends of the Deaf, welcomed everyone to what he hopes will be an annual event. Blessing of the Animals is celebrated worldwide on or around October 4, which is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. The tradition of blessing pets and other animals evolved as a way to honor St. Francis and his kindness toward all living creatures.

Beginning the service with a reading from Genesis and the Hymn of St. Francis, Pastor Giordano then added, “When people ask me if their dog has gone to Heaven, I always say ‘Why not? God gave them to us in creation so why wouldn’t they join us in the new creation?’” Soon enough, Pastor Giordano got to work bestowing individual blessings upon the three dozen dogs, one cat, and two rabbits present. One attendee asked that the ashes of his beloved dog be blessed. While Pastor Giordano made his way through the crowd, the well-behaved canines engaged in getting to know one another and accepting petting and praise from their human counterparts.

As visitors enjoyed an assortment of refreshments, they marveled at the beauty and serenity of the 
Mill Neck grounds, including the stately 1923 Tudor Revival Manor House. Many expressed a desire to visit again, hoping they might be able to bring their animal companions along. Pastor Giordano agreed, saying, “We are looking forward to more pet-friendly events at Mill Neck Manor.” Acknowledging this, Dr. Asiah Mason, Mill Neck Manor’s CEO, added, “We are blessed with a beautiful campus and neighborhood. Mill Neck Manor is a part of the community and we will be doing activities to bring our neighbors and the community to our campus.”

About Mill Neck Family of Organizations

The Mill Neck Family of Organizations, founded by Lutheran Friends of the Deaf in 1947, includes 
Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, Mill Neck Services, Mill Neck Interpreter Service, Lutheran Friends of the Deaf and Mid-Island Audiology at Mill Neck. Mill Neck is dedicated to creating a world in which Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals are included, empowered, celebrated and embraced as equals through quality and accessible education, sign language, spiritual development, employment, and habilitation programs and services.
To learn more about the Mill Neck Family of Organizations, please visit or call 
516-922-4100/SVRS® 516-558-3315.

CONTACT: Christine Oddo, Director of Community Outreach |