The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi commemorates the life of St. Francis.
Who is St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis of Assisiwas born in the 12th century, lived in Italy, and founded the men’s Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the Third Order of Saint Francis for men and women not able to live the lives of itinerant preachers. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.
He is remembered for his generosity to the poor, his willingness to minister to the lepers, and for his love for animals and nature. He is the Catholic Church’s patron saint of animals and the environment.
The Blessing of Animals
Many people bring their pets to the church to be blessed on St. Francis’ feast day because of his love for animals as expressed in his Canticle of Creatures. You can pray for and bless your pets and animals at home too. A verbal blessing and a sprinkling holy water can be offered in your backyard, garden or anywhere inside your home. The following Pet Blessing can be used:
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.
Consider donating pet food or gently used blankets and towels to the local animal shelter around this time of the year. The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi provides an opportunity to teach children about endangered or abused animals and what we can do to help.