The annual tradition of the Blessing of the Animals dates back hundreds (some say thousands) of years. For Christians, it is in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint for the protection of animals, and we remember his love for all God’s creatures. Outdoor celebrations originated as a way to bless our pets as an alternative to “taking them to church.”
This year, I invite you and your family to create your own Celebration of Saint Francis to honor your family pets. I might suggest saying a prayer, lighting a candle, spending extra quality time with them playing or walking, or even getting them a special St. Francis dog tag.
Please take photos of your Blessing of the Animals celebration, and submit them to the Communications Team, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like to share. In addition, please note the invitation from Good Shepherd Episcopal Church for Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, October 4, 2020.
I have shared a few prayers for you below, or you may make your own. The important part is to thank God for these special family members who bring so much unconditional love to your home and heart, and ask God’s blessing upon them.
“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 Saint 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.”
“Thank you for this animal, for its life that comes from you, and for the love and joy it brings. Please bless this creature and let our loving care for him/her be a reflection of your loving nature. We praise you for all your beauty in creation, and especially for this expression of your love. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.”
“In Your infinite wisdom, Lord God, when You created the universe you blessed us with all living creatures. We especially thank you for giving us our pets who are our friends and who bring us so much joy in life. Their presence very often helps us get through trying times. Kindly bless my pet. May my pet continue giving me joy and remind me of Your power. May we realize that as our pets trust us to take care of them, so we should trust You to take care of us, and in taking care of them we share in Your love for all creatures. Amen.”
Make it a joyous celebration!!!