This weekend several Anglican churches across the Canada will celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi by holding what has become an annual tradition not just here but around the world: the blessing of animals.
St. Francis, whose feast falls on Oct. 4, is regarded by Anglicans and Catholics as the patron saint of animals and the environment.
Founder of the Franciscan order, St. Francis, had a great love and affection for animals. “He preached the gospel to humans and animals like, revealing God’s blessings and speaking of God’s great love for them,” according to the website of Toronto’s Cathedral Church of St. James, which will have its annual blessing of animals service on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 11 a.m.
For years, people have brought their animal companions – dogs, cats, fish, birds, bunnies, and yes, reptiles – to church grounds for a special service that includes song, prayer and blessing.
Below are some churches that have scheduled a blessing of animals service:
· St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, Nfld., Oct. 1, 2 p.m. (For more information go to www.stjohnsanglicancathedral.org)
· St. John’s by the Lake Anglican Church in Grand Bend, Ont., Oct. 16, at 10 a.m.
· St. James Anglican Church, Dundas, Ont., Oct. 2, 10:30 a.m.
· St. John’s Anglican Church, Ancaster, Ont., Oct. 2, 1:30 p.m.