Today is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of among other things, animals. Francis considered all manner of creatures - humans, animals, plants, water, fire, even death - our brothers and sisters. As such, many parishes including my own, hold a celebration on his Feast Day to honor and bless the animals that are part of our families and lives.
We gathered outside of church, two-legged, four-legged, and finned animals alike. We sang the Prayer of St. Francis, amidst squawks, meows, barks, howls, and even a couple of whinnies from the 2 horses that were present. Then Father Jerry and Deacon John blessed each of us and our friends individually. We didn't have the cats with us because we came straight from my son's soccer game. Luckily we remembered their collars and St. Francis medallions that John was happy to bless. Father Jerry even took a ride on Billy, one of the horses, at the end.
Brother Francis, thank you for your blessings and your patronage over ALL of God's creatures.
"The Canticle of the Sun"
by Francis of Assisi
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility."
Daily Mass Readings
Feast of St. Francis of Assisi