Fr. Richard Boyle blesses a canine at last year’s pet blessing at The Grotto. This year’s blessing is set for July 21. (Courtesy The Grotto)
Fr. Richard Boyle blesses a canine at last year’s pet blessing at The Grotto. This year’s blessing is set for July 21. (Courtesy The Grotto)
There are all kinds of summer events coming up at The Grotto, Portland’s Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful mother. Opportunities range from intriguing moments with pets to magnificent ethnic faith observances.

• The largest annual event at the sanctuary, Freedom Day, is set for Sunday, July 7, in The Grotto Plaza. Festivities begin at 10 a.m., with Mass celebrated at noon. Our Lady of Lavang Parish leads the weekend, which includes catechesis in the days prior, then processions, sacred dance, music and prayer. More than 5,000 worshippers attend the Mass. It began in the 1970s, led by Vietnamese refugees, and now includes Catholic refugees from many nations.

• The Grotto will host a community blood drive with the American Red Cross on Wednesday, July 10, from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at The Grotto Conference Center. For more information or to make an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or sign up online at with sponsor code NEpdxComm.

• The Tuesday Topics Series continues, with Servite Father Richard Boyle holding the July 16 session outside in the plaza with dogs and their owners. Topic of the 2 p.m. gathering is “Dogspell – The Gospel According to Dogs.”

• Servite Father Don Siple leads a monthly book discussion group that meets next on Saturday, July 20. Topic of discussion is “The Shoemaker’s Gospel: A Novel,” by Daniel Brent. Book discussions are held 9:30-10 a.m. in The Grotto Auditorium, located beneath the Chapel of Mary.

• Pets are in the mix again at the annual blessing of the animals, to be held Sunday, July 21, 2 p.m. in The Grotto Plaza. People and pets of all faiths are welcome to the nondenominational service.

• The Filipino Catholic community gathers and invites the public to the 10th annual Dambana Festival, set for Sunday, July 28, at 2 p.m. in The Grotto Plaza. The Grotto is known among Filipinos worldwide; Filipino sailors who have come into port on the Willamette and Columbia rivers often travel to the sanctuary. In 2008, local Filipino Catholics built a Dambana shrine in The Grotto’s upper gardens — it includes statues of Mary, the infant Jesus and San Lorenzo Ruiz, a famed Filipino saint.

• Pilgrimage day at The Grotto is set for Saturday, Aug. 3, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The day centers around the monthly St. Peregrine Mass and will include additional devotional moments. Servite Father Christopher Krymski will preside at the Mass and lead some of the devotional prayers. There is a Servite Rosary of Our Lady of Sorrows at 10 a.m., a talk at 10:30, sacrament of reconciliation at 11, Mass in honor of St. Peregrine at noon and a holy hour at 3 p.m.