On October 4th each year many celebrate the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, and this feast is to commemorate the life of St Francis. St Francis is the catholic church’s patron saint of the environment and animals, and he lived around the 12th century. The blessing of the animals takes place usually on the closest Sunday to the 4th of October, and many pet owners take pride in being able to take their pet to church and have them blessed.
St.Francis is probably one of the most popular catholic saints in the world. In addition, he preached to the birds, and blessed the fish that were caught when returning them to the water. St.Francis also spoke to the wolves, and actually brokered an agreement with one wolf, which terrified a town, and he also created the very first nativity play using live animals. Having said that, because of his unusual abilities to communicate with the animals he became the patron saint of animals and the environment.
St.Francis had come to realize that creation was not only humans, but also the animals, birds, trees and every living thing on the planet. Moreover, he called the animals his brothers and sisters, and even went so far as to link humans and animals in the same relationship with god. Moreover, humans that have a religion and attend a church or place of worship, welcome a blessing, so it seems correct, and the right thing to do to get our pets blessed too, after all, they are part of gods creation.
Christian ceremonies, and even Jewish ceremonies both send out the same message regarding our pet animals, and that is to take care of them as we would ourselves. Show gratitude where our companions are concerned, because they are gifts from god, and what better way to show this if not having them blessed. However, if your pet is not used to large crowds, or may become scared of so many people and other animals in one place, it is not recommended to take them along, although many pet owners just take a picture and that way the pet can still be blessed.
The blessing of animals is encouraged by many churches in many states, but not all, so you will have to check with your local church to find out where the nearest animal blessing will be held. Blessings may occur either inside or outside, depending on the individual church and space available. The service available may consist of a verbal blessing and some holy water and usually includes dogs, cats, fish and birds, although it is not limited to just these types of animals. With that said, consult with your local church leader to find out if your pet can attend too. Moreover, many churches ask for blankets, and pet food donations at this appropriate time of celebration to be donated to your local animal shelters.
More About St.Francis
St.Francis lived in Italy around the 12th century, and is remembered for his willingness to preach to the lepers, as well as his generosity towards the poor people. He is more well known however, for his love for creatures and environment and nature, and he died on October 4th 1226. There are many symbols associated with St.Francis and some of them are: Stigmata, birds and animals, a winged crucifix with five rays, a crown of thorns, a lighted lamp, a fiery chariot, fire, a skull and animals such as a birds, deer and a wolf to name but a few.
Finally, if you have a beloved pet, they are your companion, friend, a creature that you love dearly, and you may want to consider using this opportunity to have him blessed. The blessing of the animals can not only be an exciting time for pet owners everywhere, but also can bring communities together, with each person having at least one thing in common, an animal, another part of gods creation. Speak with your local church to find out the date and time of your next blessing of the animals, so you don’t miss out on this wonderful celebration.