Blessing of the Animals in October

By: Louise Louis

Each October, my dog and I participate in one of the nicest celebrations
a pet and owner can share - the Blessing of the Animals, a Catholic tradition that is duplicated
by other denominations.

Don't worry, I'm not going to try to convert anyone! I'm just going to describe this celebration
and suggest that those church goers among my readers might see if their church offers something similar.

Both our local Episcopalian
and Lutheran churches have similar celebrations.

The Blessing of the Animals commemorates the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4)
and his love for all animals. St. Francis was born in Assisi, Italy around 1181; founded the Franciscan Order of Monks; and died in 1226.

In the celebration which often takes place outdoors, a priest sprinkles holy water on your pet and says the following:

"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."

My dog was one of about 30 pets at
my church, including hamsters, cats, birds and a small goldfish bowl.

Incidentally all were well-behaved except for one cat who did not like being sprinkled!.

This celebration has gained popularity
especially in areas with large Latino
immigration. Rural residents in Mexico
and other Latin countries depend heavily on animals for their livelihood and are reassured by the priest's blessing.

Whatever the spiritual benefits that resultArticle Search, this is a lovely way to celebrate the love we get and give our pets.

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