Sunday, October 4th, is the celebration of the Feast of Saint Francis, patron saint of animals and ecology. Around the world churches hold a special ceremony called The Blessing of the Animals on or near this day as a way of remembering Saint Francis’s love for all creatures.
To find out where this blessing is being held in your state, if you are in the US, go to www.americancatholic.org/Features/francis/us.asp
The actual blessing below is a lovely celebration of the sacredness in life.
“Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this pet. By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.”
About ten years ago we went to a local cathedral for the Blessing of the Animals. We wanted to experience it for ourselves. We’ve reprinted an excerpt of how we described the event in our book, ANGEL ANIMALS: Divine Messengers of Miracles.
“Hundreds of dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, iguanas, and ferrets waited inside boxes, sat next to their cherished people, or were draped over human shoulders as the sermons, songs, and barking resonated throughout the massive cathedral.
“To close the church service, a zebra, a falcon, and a camel led the procession down the middle aisle to the front where a minister intoned the liturgy for the Blessing of the Animals.
“After singing hymns and reading the liturgy in the cathedral, all the people and animals walked across the street to Loring Park, where we followed white-robed priests and joined two other churches that had had similar services.
“We walked with our yellow Lab Taylor close behind the priests with hundreds of animals and humans behind us. Smiles on the priests’ faces conveyed their obvious joy and the love they felt at giving a service to the animals in this way. When we arrived in the park, a musical group from Ecuador played wind instruments accompanied by an occasional howling dog.
“The ministers and priests each dispersed to tents with people and animals lining up to receive their blessings. As the priest blessed the dog in front, Taylor scooted out of her collar and ran to where Allen stood, preparing to take her picture.
“He explained to her that the blessing is a special event to honor her and that she might enjoy it. She settled down and returned to where Linda stood in line.
“When it was her turn, Taylor stepped up to the priest, who looked amused. He leaned over and gently touched Taylor’s forehead while offering a blessing that brought tears to Linda’s eyes.
“He said, ‘May the God who made you bless and keep you.’ Taylor solemnly accepted the gift with her eyes wide open and her tongue hanging out.
“As Linda and Taylor left the line, a woman with a thick European accent said, ‘She will always be with you now.’ And so she will. Our love for each other is the forever kind.”
Have you participated in the Blessing of the Animals? What was it like for you and your animal companion?
We welcome you to answer this question and the “Something to Think About” question at our blogs and forums, so everyone can see your comments.
HORSES WITH A MISSION was a top 100 bestseller horse book on Amazon.com this week!
LAST DAYS FOR SALE AT ONLINE BOOKSTORE Go to shop.angelanimals.net for a great sale. Both HORSES WITH A MISSION and ANGEL DOGS WITH A MISSION are being offered for 40 percent off this week. The sale ends at midnight Central Time zone, Monday, October 5th. The books will be autographed for you. It’s a great chance to buy gifts for you and your animal loving friends.
The launches for our new book, HORSES WITH A MISSION are on Tuesday, October 6th, 7:30 pm, CDT, at Garrison Keillor’s Common Good Books in Saint Paul, Minnesota and Saturday, October 10th, 2:00 p.m. at Borders Books & Music in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Hope to see you there!
Go to www.horseswithamission.com to read excerpts of the book, see video clips of stories, and join in the fun of launching this exciting new book.
Watch and listen to Linda and Allen this week as they talk about HORSES WITH A MISSION and the book launches.
***Animal Wise Radio, Sunday, October 4, 1:20 p.m. Central Time. To listen live in Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, tune to KYCR (AM 1570) or KDWA (AM 1460. Listen streaming or later at www.KDWA.com. Podcast available at www.allpetsradio.com and www.animalwiseradio.com
***KARE 11 (NBC), Showcase Minnesota, Monday, October 5, 10:20 a.m. Central Time. If you miss the show live, you can see it online at www.showcaseminnesota.com/