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Take your pet to church for a blessing

Published: October 2, 2017

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St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), patron saint of animals and ecology, is known for his love for God's creation. In his "Canticle of the Creatures," he reveals how all creation is connected in one family under God's loving care. His feast day is celebrated Oct. 4.

In his papal encyclical, "Laudato Si' ("On Care for Our Common Home"), Pope Francis showed he has a lot in common with his namesake, by challenging all to care for God's creation. Read Arkansas Catholic to find 41 practical tips on protecting the environment including saving endangered animal species.

Stories about St. Francis and animals include him communicating with them to express his oneness with creation. The most common stories including him preaching to birds and experiences with rabbits, fish and a wolf.

It has become common practice for Catholic parishes to host pet blessings on or near the feast the St. Francis to honor his love for animals. Contact a parish near you to find out if it will host a pet blessing in your area.

The following prayer for animals is from the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Visit the website to find other prayers on the care for creation.

Hear our humble prayer, O God,
for our friends the animals, your creatures.
We pray especially for all that are suffering in any way:
for the overworked and underfed,
the hunted, lost, or hungry;
for all in captivity or ill-treated,
and for those that must be put to death.
For those who deal with them,
we ask a gentle heart of compassion,
gentle hands, and kindly words.
Make us all true friends to animals
and worthy followers of our merciful Savior, Jesus Christ.
Amen.