Blessing of Pets
In the autumn, people in various places bring animals to church for a special ceremony called the Blessing of Pets. This ceremony is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures. His feast day is October 4th (Mackin).
There are two Franciscan blessings for animals. One is for all animals. The other is for sick animals (AmericanCatholic.org).
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 animals 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 for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.
Heavenly Father, you created all things for your glory and made us stewards of this creature. If it is your will, restore it to health and strength. Blessed are you, Lord God, and holy is your name for ever and ever. Amen.
As the prayer is offered, the pet is gently sprinkled with holy water. Some cats are known for flattening their ears as the “drops of water lightly pelt them.” If the animal is not able to be present, a photo of the animal can be brought in as substitute. The Blessing of Pets is usually held outdoors (Mackin).
We have a close connection to animals, especially our pets. We also know that they have souls (see Wild Souls). Depending on what our beliefs are, we usually bless or baptize (in some form) our children, family, and friends. Why not bless our animals? They need blessings too. God wants us to bless them, for he put them on Earth with us. St. Francis realized the importance of our siblings, the animals.
- AmericanCatholic.org. “‘Do-it-yourself’ Franciscan Animal Blessings.” ‘Do-it-yourself’ Franciscan Animal Blessings. AmericanCatholic.org, n.d. Web. 07 July 2012. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/francis/animal.asp.
- Mackin, Kevin E. “Blessing of Pets and the Animals – St. Francis of Assisi.” Blessing of Pets and the Animals – St. Francis of Assisi. AmericaCatholic.org, n.d. Web. 07 July 2012. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/francis/blessing.asp.