Blessing of the Animals at St. Luke’s on September 30th
Though the Feast Day honoring St. Francis of Assisi is celebrated on October 4th, St. Luke’s Church will honor the saint on September the 30th. Following the Mass at 10:00 a.m. there will take place a blessing of the animals. We will conduct this on the lawn area outside the church.
The parish hall will be made available for the comfort of the animals. No reptiles or spiders please. Please provide a cage for your dog, cat, bird, rabbit and the like so they may be contained in the parish hall. If you have a large animal such as a horse, you will need to have a trailer for them. If the weather is conducive, your pet may be left in your vehicle if you desire. There will be a lunch following the blessing.
On Sunday, Oct. 4, churches around the world will celebrate something that St. Francis of Assisi started almost 800 years ago: blessing our animals. It was Francis who first introduced the idea that human beings are only one of a myriad of creations of God and all are blessed in God’s “eyes.” The feast day of St. Francis (the day that he died) is celebrated every year on October 4, and blessing of the animal services are usually scheduled for the Sunday closest to that day.
Whether you realize it or not, you probably know something about St. Francis. He is the most popular Catholic saint in the world. He is the one who preached to the birds; blessed fish that had been caught, releasing them back into the water; communicated with wolves, brokering an agreement between one famous ferocious wolf and the citizens of a town that were terrified of it and used real animals when he created the very first, live, Christmas nativity scene. As a result of these, Francis is the patron saint of animals and the environment.
was Francis really the first person to bless the animals? It appears not. Judaism, long home to blessings of all kinds, may have come first. The Jewish ceremony is often performed on the seventh day of Passover (in the spring) as a celebration of the Hebrews’ (and their animals’) emancipation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. Why not exult in the freedom of all creatures from bondage, and not just the humans? Such an occasion reminds humans to care for their pets as if they are more like companions than slaves.
In both the Christian ceremony performed in early October and in Jewish ceremonies later in the month, the message to those of us with animal companions is the same: take care of them as you would take care of yourself. Show gratitude; they are gifts from God.