As autumn arrives, people in various places may notice something odd. A procession of animals led to churches for a special ceremony called the Blessing of Pets. This custom is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures. Francis, whose feast day is October 4th, loved all of God’s creatures. Francis wrote a Canticle of the Creatures, an ode to God’s living things. “All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures.”
The bond between person and pet is like no other relationship, because the communication between fellow creatures is at its most basic. No wonder people enjoy the opportunity to take their animal companions to church for a special blessing. Church is the place where the bond of creation is celebrated.
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!
Adapted from Blessing of Animals
by Kevin E. Mackin, O.F.M.