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mtnrdredux_gw

St Francis of Assisi, woof woof

mtnrdredux_gw
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

We have good friends in Maine and the husband is a bishop and pastor of a summer church there Aug-Oct. Our family were not churchgoers, but out of respect for our friend we started going a few times a season as a family, and now we go fairly often during those months. We have friends who are Christmas & Easter churchgoers, and they laugh that we are the only ones they know are only August churchgoers.

Today was the blessing of the animals and it is always a very spirited service. Often held outside, the wind kept us inside today. No bites, no fights, no accidents. Lovely homily on stewardship of the environment. And a very sweet reminder how precious our pets are. My favorite part is all the pet names ... today there was a Sheltie named Glamour Girl (and she was) and two black labs named Gumbo & Guinness.

If you have never been, you should find one in your area; they are usually early October (to late this year unless they do one midweek). I know this church, and I think many churches , welcomes anyone and everyone.

Anyone else had their pets blessed today?

Comments (41)

  • maddielee
    2 months ago

    Is ”stop it Archie!” a blessing? Just kidding, watched a neighbor’s puppy for a few hours yesterday.


    yes, our Murphie Brown (RIP) was blessed a few times. Some of my favorite church services.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked maddielee
  • dedtired
    2 months ago

    I am currently petless, but i notice that the Catholic church and the Episcopal church near me are blessing the animals today. Unfortunately it is raining buckets here.

  • lisaam
    2 months ago

    I know of one church in my area that does this although my guys have never attended. Maybe a home ritual with a bit of water splashed.

    I’m a lapsed, or recovering, Catholic. The riuals are memorable. I’m not sure if it’s still obseved, but the Feast of St Blaise is Feb 2 and used to include blessing of throats using a pair of unlit candles. tied with a red ribbon. The intention is to guard against choking on fishbones and sore throats.

  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Not churchgoers ourselves (although I do attend when I visit my mother - I love the people in her church). Australian Shepherds are fairly indepenent minded, so we would be unlikely to take our dogs to a ceremony (or a parade, for that matter). On outer Cape Cod, there is an annual blessing of the fleet in Provincetown harbor at the end of the Portuguese Festival in June. Blessings of good fortune for the coming year are given for the commercial fisherman.

  • nekotish
    2 months ago

    Pretty sure my dog would start by peeing on the font, or the bishop. Can't see myself taking him to a church service!

  • Trailrunner Zone 7a VA
    2 months ago

    We attended the AUUF for many many years. They had their blessing of the animals today , it is always early October. We would bring a picture of whatever cat we had over the years since they wouldn’t have travelled well 😂🤦‍♀️. We had bunnies and guinea pigs and birds as well as the usual suspects. I think we had a lamb once as well. We don’t have a UU here in our area so we ” home church” on our meditation cushions.

  • Feathers11
    2 months ago

    Love that story, Jo!

    I've never attended such a service. I did, however, attend a Franciscan college. St. Francis holds a special place for me, and I've been to the beautiful town of Assisi and the basilica there.

  • LynnNM
    2 months ago

    No, but what a wonderful idea!

  • gsciencechick
    2 months ago

    I once saw someone brink a snake to blessing of the animals. 🐍

  • jill302
    2 months ago

    Although I attended church for many years, I never have attended a service blessing the animals, it sounds like a wonderful event. I was raised Episcopalian, and it has a familiar ring. However, I can not see my mom loading all the pets into the car for a service, just not her thing. If it was on a Sunday, she probably would have elected to skip church that week.


    It appears that our local Catholic church offers a special service on Tuesday and several churches near our desert home offered blessings this weekend. Calendared to watch for this event next year, hope to attend a service. Thank you for sharing.

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    2 months ago

    Our UU church has done that for many years now, and encouraged people to bring a photo or a toy/model version of their pet if the real one doesn't travel well. It's very sweet and fun.

    They also do a flower communion, and a water communion, where people bring flowers and little containers of water from cherished, special places respectively, and they are mingled together and everyone gets to say a little something about their offering, if they wish.

  • maire_cate
    2 months ago


    October 4th is the feast day of St. Francis although he actually died near midnight on the 3rd. My high school was Franciscan and one of the Brothers offered the annual Blessing of the Animals to the community. If the weather was nice we held it in the huge field behind the Motherhouse and typically students were recruited to assist.


    My kids have had dogs, birds, snakes, lizards but for some reason I never even thought about having them blessed but then again I only go to church for weddings or funerals.

  • schoolhouse_gwagain
    2 months ago

    A local farm that was also a nursery/greenhouse used to have an annual dog walk. It was great. A priest would come and bless the dogs. Also, before we lined up in the beautiful landscaped yard to begin the walk, all around the edge of the property and then up into a wooded area to walk the trail and back, a trio of musicians that provided background music always played and sang Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven". It was for all those fur babies that had passed on but were never forgotten.


    I cried every single time. ugh. It was just so moving.

  • jojoco
    2 months ago

    Even though I consider myself agnostic—at best—I have a soft spot for Saint Francis. After many years of searching, I finally found a statue of him that looks perfectly at home in a nook in my yard by my bird feeder. I always have to laugh, when Cardinals sit on his head.

  • Bunny
    2 months ago

    My Episcopal church is doing Blessing of the Animals next Sunday. I'm taking my grand-dog Otis. Last year he cried.

  • nini804
    2 months ago

    Oh gosh, we’re Episcopalian, we have it every year! Adore it, but Hudson does not! He gets extrodinarily nervous, perhaps he’s athiest? 😂 We stopped taking him. Koda hasn’t been yet (during Covid it was some sort of lame drive-up thing😂) She’ll love it. We’ve seen everything, snakes, other reptiles, gerbils….one lady brought a Great Dane who was so moved he did a #2 in the aisle (it was outdoors, thank goodness.) 😂

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I imagine every church that does it does it every year?


    Thank goodness we've never seen any accidents. How impolite!

  • arcy_gw
    2 months ago

    "They are usually in Oct." The Feast of St.. Francis is Oct 4 and these pet blessings are most often on the Sunday afternoon of the Sunday closest to the feast day. Check out any Roman Catholic Church--pretty much a given. Not usually DURING Mass but later, held outside. It's pretty fun to learn what people you know have what pets. We used to serve Hot Apple Cider and animal treats!

  • Kswl
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    We are Episcopalian and our new-ish rector does a blessing of the animals on the October feast day of St. Francis. Not all priests like animals and don’t do it; our last priest did not and we’re glad to see it back Our church holds it outdoors in the garden. We missed it this year, my mother, daughter and I went up to Atlanta for lunch and the final performance of Everybody at the Alliance Theatre. I’m hoping last year’s blessing will last more than 12 months for our rowdy dog duo.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked Kswl
  • Bunny
    2 months ago

    Not all priests like animals

    I have no words.

    My church does it every year. In 2020 when we were still all Zoom church, we (me) put together a slide show of our pets accompanied by All Creatures of our God and King. I still watch it now and then, because animals.

    Our entire 10:00 service moves outside for the Blessing of the Animals. It happens somewhere between the sermon and communion.

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I do think animals, certainly dogs, have a sense about people and their intentions. I notice the pastor always starts by petting them a bit. They know.


    We aren't supposed to judge but I am always wary of anti-dog people, especially those who don't cotton to the notoriously gentle breeds.

  • Bunny
    2 months ago

    We aren't supposed to judge

    I can't help myself. I call it discernment.

    I can watch dog and cat videos all day long. I just can't with anti-dog/cat people.

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I can watch dog and cat videos all day long


    This is a very real danger. I love "cats with jobs"

  • bpath
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Especially during the shutdown, DH and I could easily get sucked into a channel, on broadcast tv mind you, of animal videos. No narration, no commentary, just one short video after another.

    The chuch I ring at is Epsopalian and yesterday they were having a Blessing of the Animals after the service. You were to go home and get the pets and come back. I guess people did, I wouldn’t dream of putting the cat in the carrier and outting him theough that terror. That is, the terror of the carrier, the car, the people, the other animals. He’d think, ”if this is a blessing I’d rather be damned.” We never did these blessings in my Lutheran upbringing, but observing Saints’ Days wasn’t a thing. We would recognize them during the prayers, but not celebrate the days.

    Yesterday, we sang a hymn of the Prayer of St Francis, which while apparently not likely to have been ”his”, does speak to his ways, and even if one does not believe in God, one likely still strives to follow the hopes in most the words.

    Make me an instrument of your peace.
    Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
    Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
    Where there is discord, let me bring union.
    Where there is error, let me bring truth.
    Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
    Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
    Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
    Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
    Let me not seek as much
    to be consoled as to console,
    to be understood as to understand,
    to be loved as to love,
    for it is in giving that one receives,
    it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
    it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
    it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

    Jojoco, why can’t I find an image of St Francis with a cardinal, or a Cardinal, on his head?? Come on, surely there is one out there!

  • Tina Marie
    2 months ago

    We do not celebrate the Feast of St. Francis but I would love to see this ceremony! I will have to look for this next year. I agree with being wary of those who do not like dogs, although I know some are scared of them. Dogs are a good judge of people. Patting the dog, easing up to it is a smart thing. Our pastor also does that with babies on their dedication day. Not that I'm comparing dogs to babies haha!!

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked Tina Marie
  • Bunny
    2 months ago

    Some people bring cats in carriers, some TAKE THEIR CATS OUT OF THE CARRIERS!!! Sorry for shouting, but I can't even deal with that. I have taken photos of my cats to be blessed. My cats say thanks, but they're already sitting at the right hand of God.

  • bpath
    2 months ago

    Bunny, haha haha, yes!

  • Kswl
    2 months ago

    Bunny, our last priest who didn’t like animals didn’t really like people either. 😎

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked Kswl
  • deegw
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    My kid's Catholic elementary school has a blessing of the animals. Some kids would bring small caged animals for the day but most parents would bring the pets to the outside after-school ceremony. It was not unusual for people to bring their horses! It was always a very sweet day.

  • deegw
    2 months ago

    This tweet about a judgey cat cracked me up yesterday.


    https://twitter.com/buitengebieden/status/1576528492854153217

  • bpath
    2 months ago

    Dee, that's funny... And spot on.

  • cawaps
    2 months ago

    I haven't been to a blessing of the animals. I do sing in a church choir, and on Sunday most of the hymns were St. Francis related (including a hymn based on the Prayer of St. Francis that bpath referenced and Canticle of the Sun, which Wikipedia says is actually attributable to St. Francis). I'm an atheist but the church is Catholic.

  • bpath
    2 months ago

    Cawaps, I’m intrigued. You are atheist, but sing in a church choir. I can think of all kinds of reasons for that.

  • cawaps
    2 months ago

    I like singing? A Catholic friend of mine invited to sing with her church choir for Lent and Easter back in 1995, and I never left. She moved away, but I'm still going. We're small (post-pandemic attrition) but mighty. There were only two of us on Sunday, as our only other reliable regular was on vacation.


    I feel a need to add a disclaimer when I say I go to a Catholic church because I know that people file away little bits of information about people from their posts (I do, anyway, to the extent that I can keep everyone straight in my head), and the natural assumption would be that I am, well, Catholic.

  • maire_cate
    2 months ago

    bpath - that brings back so many memories. Even after all these years I still remember the words and melody to the Peace Prayer of St. Francis. At the end of our school day when the dismissal bell rang one of our Franciscan nuns would use her pitch pipe over the PA system to start the hymn and 250 girls in plaid skirts and navy blazers would sing as we went to our lockers. St. Francis didn't write it but it is a beautiful hymn and one of the few songs in the Catholic liturgy that people can readily sing.

  • bpath
    2 months ago

    Cawaps, liking to sing was the top of my guesses. There as do many things to enjoy about singing in a group. And some beautiful music has been written for churches. Unless one auditions for a chorale, where else are you going to sing Bach?

    Maire_cate, that's a nice way to end the school day.

  • Bunny
    2 months ago

    I sing in my church choir and I love so much of the music, esp singing in Latin.

  • maire_cate
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    bpath - It was nice and I'm sure it also helped the hall monitor keep order - as in "single file to the right of the hall." That was definitely a different time - the late 1960's. When the all boys Catholic high school that my brothers attended went co-ed the all-girls high schools closed.

  • OutsidePlaying
    2 months ago

    I recall at 2 of the Episcopal churches near us would have a blessing of the animals each year. I dont know if they still do it or not but i think it’s a cool thing to do. We are currently pet-less and never took our labs but our DD took hers a couple of times several years ago.

  • barncatz
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    @deegw, that video is hysterical. (Maybe I'll start playing it when one of my Book Club members opines - it'd be the perfect response.) My dog has an Instagram account and I have wonderful interactions with my core IG friends (dogs, cats, 1 hysterically funny African Parrot). Yesterday the algorithm sent me a cat account. I usually ignore them but I clicked on a video and, whoosh, lost precious daylight laughing at cat videos!

    When we lived in the city and DD was a mite, we always brought her pony to be blessed (outside), even though the pony should have been the one giving the blessing.

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