If you are observant of the various catholic holidays and feast days, you probably know who St. Francis was and his ode to all living creatures. St. Francis wrote a Canticle of the Creatures and is the patron saint of animals. His feast day is on October 4 and many churches and interfaith institutions around the world have a day in October for pet lovers to have their dogs, cats, ducks, horses, iguanas, or whatever you may have as a pet to church to be blessed.
St. Francis was a deacon and preacher and founded the Order of Friars Minor, which more well known as the Franciscans. There is a statue in his honor in San Francisco, Ca. and he is considered to be the first Italian poet by some literary critics. His writings have been viewed as being great contributions to the world of literature as well as religious. St. Francis loved animals and there are tales that he preached, prayed, and was kind to the creatures that he encountered. He wrote about loving and appreciating the sun, moon, earth, and all that exist around us. There is a legend that on his deathbed he thanked his donkey for carrying him and helping him throughout his life.
The Blessing of the Animals is an event where pets can receive a blessing in the memory of St. Francis. Some owners will bring a photo if they can’t bring their pet due to any number of reasons. Many of the Blessing of the Animals are held after a regularly scheduled church service and if you’ve ever seen it, it’s quite a sight. Imagine a huge parade of people and their dogs, cats in carriers, parrots, hamsters in small carriers, and lizards all waiting in line outside of a church. The bond we share with our pets is like no other and the laughs, love, and affection is something we cherish. For those of us who share this faith, the Blessing of the Animals can be a way to celebrate the bond and joy in having a pet.
Many of the Blessing of the Pets events will be taking place this weekend after normal church services on October 2nd and October 3rd. If you have never had your pet blessed and would like to, contact your local church to see if they are holding the event.