Blessing the Animals on St. Francis’ day

Last week at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (Saratoga, CA), we had our annual blessing of the animals for St. Francis’ day. We sang hymns appropriate to the day:

  • All things bright and beautiful…
  • For the beauty of the earth…
  • All creatures of our God and King…

We said the prayer attributed to St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon:
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.

We said the Collect for the Feast of St. Francis:

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

John and I brought our cockatiel birds Guapo and Sparky in their domed cage.  They were very interested and flirted amiably with many children. The biggest animals to be blessed were a team of draft horses; the smallest was a red betta fish. The congregation loves to bring their dogs and cats and rabbits and other pets to church this one day. Running the service around animals’ needs and noises is challenging but it is a joyous day for all.

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Images by Katy Dickinson, Copyright 2010

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