People/North: Blessing of the Animals Saturday in Danvers

First-grade students at Saint Rose Grammar School in Chelsea received new backpacks and school supplies. First-grade students at Saint Rose Grammar School in Chelsea received new backpacks and school supplies.
By Wendy Killeen
Globe Correspondent / September 29, 2011

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BLESS THE BEASTS: To celebrate animals and their importance to people, Calvary Episcopal Church will hold its ninth annual Blessing of the Animals Saturday at Endicott Park in Danvers.

The Rev. Thea Keith-Lucas, Calvary’s rector, presides over this community event that welcomes all, regardless of species, religion, or spiritual belief.

Keith-Lucas offers hands-on blessings for all animals in attendance and also blesses photographs and paper prayers for animals who are unable to attend or have died.

Deb Helfrich from Therapy Dogs of Vermont will provide free screenings to determine whether dogs have the tolerant temperament to serve in health care facilities.

Other organizations represented include the German Shepherd Resource and Rescue Center; the Humane Society of the United States; and animal care vendors, including North Shore Dog, Pet Life stores, Fit and Trim Agility, Friends of Danvers Dog Park, Perfect Paws Pet Ministry, and Danvers Animal Hospital.

The event will be held from 1 to 3 p.m., rain or shine. It is free and open to the public, but there is a parking fee of $1 for Danvers residents, $3 for nonresidents. The park is located at 57 Forest St.

Call Fran Weil at 978-869-7258.

SINGING LIEUTENANT: Pauline Wells will perform a concert at the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury tonight to benefit Foster Kids of Merrimack Valley.

A lieutenant with the Cambridge Police Department, Wells is an accomplished singer, performer, and patriotic vocalist. Her repertoire includes contemporary Celtic and American music. She is performing with the Irish band Devri.

Foster Kids of Merrimack Valley serves children from Lawrence, Methuen, Andover, North Andover, and the greater Haverhill area. Its goal is to bring positive influences into the lives of foster children and support them as they grow. The nonprofit works closely with the Department of Children and Families to make sure all programs offered are complementary and needed, and do not overlap with state and federally funded programs.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 (plus $2 ticket handling fee) and can be purchased online at Tables of six may be purchased for $192.

THE BACKPACK SANTA: Mary Sullivan-McNiff recently visited Saint Rose Grammar School in Chelsea to give first-grade students new backpacks and school supplies as part of her fifth annual Inner-City Scholarship Fund Backpack Drive.

A manager at Advent Software in Boston, Sullivan-McNiff organizes her co-workers and friends to purchase the backpacks and supplies. The Catholic Schools Foundation of Boston then helps her find a school that could benefit from the donation.

“This is our fifth year doing the backpack drive and second year at Saint Rose,’’ said Sullivan-McNiff. “We really love the school and its commitment to the students. This was our largest drive yet, with 47 backpacks, and the children are the reason we do this. Education is so important and we want the kids to have a positive experience from the start. The gratitude they express is so sincere and heartwarming, you can’t help but smile.’’

St. Rose School principal Caitlin Keeton said: “Our first-grade students were thrilled to be surprised with brand-new backpacks. They knew they were going to have some special visitors, but they had no idea they would come bearing gifts. The expressions on their faces were priceless.’’

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Ralph Rotman of Marblehead received the North Shore Leadership Award from the Anti-Defamation League of New England. He was honored for his dedication to the league and its programs. He has served on its advisory committee for more than a decade and was recently nominated to its board of overseers. He has been in the life insurance industry with Northwestern Mutual since 1978 and is founder of the Atlantic Benefit Group. . . . Andrew Caplan of Swampscott received the Rudolph North Shore Volunteer Award. . . . Anne Carroll, a native of Ipswich, has received the Sierra Club’s national Madelyn Pyeatt Award for her work with youth through the Boston Inner City Outings Group. Carroll began volunteering with the organization in 1998. In 2004, she became chairwoman, overseeing the revitalization of the program. During her tenure the organization has led more than 75 trips, bringing more than 1,300 youths outdoors. The daughter of Dorothy and Ed Monnelly of Ipswich, Carroll is director of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Office of Water Resources.

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