As I passed the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church over the weekend, I noticed the announcement for Sunday’s “Blessing of the Animals,” to be held in their Sanctuary on sunday. I smiled to note one of my favorite autumn rituals, which honors the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, October 4. While well known for the lovely St. Francis Prayer (Lord make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love….), he is also embraced for the Canticle of Creatures—an ode to God’s living things.
New Yorkers are lucky to have many progressive congregations that will bless our furry family members, but if you can’t find a welcoming house of worship, may I offer a “Do-it-Yourself” Franciscan Animal Blessings, which can be revised as a secular blessing:
Blessed are you, God
maker of all living creatures.
On the fifth and sixth days of creation,
you called forth fish in the sea,
birds in the air and animals on land.
You inspired St. Francis to call all animals
his brothers and sisters.
We ask you to bless this animal
By the power of your love,
enable it to live according to your plan.
May we always offer praise
for the beauty in all creatures.
The sweet photo above is from an annual blessing at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.