Saturday, October 15th, 2016 at 4:00pm on the lawn of the church
Everyone is welcome to bring their pets for blessing.
There will be prayers and blessings of the animals with Holy water, plus St. Francis medals and prayer cards for all.
This tradition is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi's love for all creatures.
The Feast Day of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals and Ecology, is celebrated around the world in early October by people who bring their pets to be blessed by a Priest.
Bring your dog, cat, reptile, bird, equestrian, barnyard or zoo animal, from the smallest to the largest, and join us in this wonderful yearly tradition. Anyone with an animal or show loves animals, regardless of religion, is welcome! It's such a joyous sight to behold!
Blessings to you and your animal friends
(Click here for a printable pdf)
In the late 1100's, a young man named Francis was living the good life in Assisi, Italy. Francis was a rebellious teenager, who dreamed of being a knight. At the age of 21, Francis got his wish. War broke out between Assisi and Perugia. Francis joined the cavalry and was soon under attack and captured. Recognized as coming from a wealthy family, he was held for ransom. It was during his imprisonment that Francis began to receive visions from God. After Francis was ransomed and was praying in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ spoke to him saying, "Go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis gave up every material thing he had and began to serve Christ. He began to preach a new kind of emotional and personal Christian religion that everyday people could understand. It is said that he even preached to the animals. His messages spread far and wide to thousands who were captivated by what they heard. He began to collect followers that became known as Franciscan friars. Today we know this group as the Catholic Church's Franciscan Order.
A life of poverty and his wounds from the war took their toll on Francis and he died in 1226 at the age of 44. He was canonized as a saint just two years after his death. Today, St Francis is the patron saint for ecologists – a title honoring his boundless love for animals and nature. The church celebrates the Feast of St Francis on October 4.
St Francis also left us many writings; the most famous is the Canticle of the Sun. The glass etchings surrounding our Angel Chapel in the sanctuary are an illustration of the Canticle of the Sun. Also, in the Angel Chapel you will find a San Damiano Cross. It was in front of this cross that Francis was praying when he received the commission from the Lord to rebuild the Church.
The first thing built in our Emmanuel Community Garden was the St Francis Garden. It was built about 30 years ago as an Eagle Scout project by Matt Bethancourt. It is also very fitting that Francis is the patron saint of ecologists – what could be more ecological than our garden. What could be more special than bringing our pets – those treasured members of our lives – before St Francis to be blessed? The area of our garden under the ash tree is called the St Francis Prayer Garden. If you have not yet experienced its attraction, maybe the time has come. We at Emmanuel have many connections to St Francis so it is very appropriate that we celebrate the Feast of St Francis with remembrance, and a blessing of the animals.