Blessing of the Animals
Francis of Assisi, renewer of the church,
is recognized on October 4. He is a popular saint, one recognized by both Christian and non-Christians. Often, statues of St. Francis portray him in a garden speaking with the birds. He had a love of nature, reflected in his “Canticle of Brother Sun.” EvLW #835, “All creatures worship God most high,” is a hymn text based on this canticle.
One the years, in honour of St. Francis, the tradition of “The Blessing of the Animals” is observed in many communities. Churches, parks, and front lawns become a welcoming place for those animals that we care for or have cared for and are no longer with us. Pastor Janaki Bandara, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Cambridge, has written a blessing that can be used in a variety of settings, opening up the church doors to the community. She has shared her liturgy with us here, along with a “Certificate of Blessing” so that people may have a physical reminder of the day.
Although many people will find this service helpful to use on or around October 4, others communities will find that springtime is more suitable. Thank you Pastor Janaki for your gift.
Editor’s Note: If you would like a template of the Pet Blessing Certificate that you adjust for your own use, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will be happy to send you a copy. Kathryn Smith