Celebrating St. Francis: The Patron Saint of Animals

By Coleen Ellis

October 4th is a special day for pet parents, the feast day for St. Francis, known as the patron saint of animals. In 1228, Pope Gregory IX canonized Francis along with Saint Catherine of Siena, originally designating him the Patron saint of Italy. He later became associated with the patronage of animals and the natural environment, and it became customary for Catholic and Anglican churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of 4 October. Today, he is remembered as the patron saint of animals.

Our pets fill our hearts with so much love and emotion that we feel compelled to give back to them in every way we can, with their medical and physical care, their food, to their activities. Knowing we can do one more thing with a small, yet powerful process, as a pet blessing fills our hearts even more!

Take some time today, gather your pets around you, and shower on them a blessing from your heart to theirs, following these words:

Let’s please join together reverently with our God and come together for our blessing.

God created us and placed us on this earth to be the stewards of all living things and so to proclaim the glory of their Creator.  Let us, then, praise God, by saying ‘Blessed Be God Forever.’”

“Blessed Be God Forever”

How wonderful are the words of your hands, O Lord:

Blessed Be God Forever

Blessed are you, O Lord, who created the animals and gave us the ability to train them and to help us I our world.

Blessed Be God Forever

Blessed are you, O Lord, who gave us food from animals to replenish our energies.

Blessed Be God Forever

Blessed are you, O Lord, who for the sake of our comfort gave us domestic animals as companions.

Blessed Be God Forever

Blessed are you, O Lord, who show us a sign of your providence, as your Son told us, by caring for the birds of the air.

Blessed Be God Forever

Blessed are you, O Lord, who offered your Son to us as the paschal lamb and in him willed that we should be called and should truly be your children.

Blessed Be God Forever

Blessed are you, O Lord, who through your lowliest creatures never cease to draw us toward your love.

Blessed Be God Forever

(Extend your hand over your pet) Let us pray.

O God, you have done all things wisely; in your goodness you have made us in your image and have given us care over other living things.  Reach out with your right hand, and grant that these animals may service our needs and that your bounty in the resources of this life may move us to see more confidently the goal of eternal life.

Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures.  On the fifth and sixth days of creation, you called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land.  You inspired St. Francis to call all animal his brothers and sisters.  We ask you to bless this animal.  By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan.  May we always praise you and for all of you beauty in creation.  Blessed are you. Lord our God, in all your creatures.

We ask all of this through our Christ our Lord.  Amen!

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