First Lutheran Church’s Blessing of the Animals
Bring your friendly and well behaved furry (and maybe not so furry) family members to receive a blessing from Pastor John in the FLC main courtyard. There will be a brief service, blessings of the animals, and light snacks. It’s bound to be a great time!
St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment:
Blessing of the animals stems from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals & environment and who could be viewed as the original Earth Day advocate. Francis’ devotion to God was expressed through his love for all of God’s creation. St. Francis cared for the poor and sick, he preached sermons to animals, and praised all creatures as brothers and sisters under God.
After a wild youth and a brief career as a soldier, Francis devoted his life to God.
Francis’ deep love of God overflowed into love for all God’s creatures-expressed not only in his tender care of lepers and his (unsuccessful) attempt to negotiate peace between Muslims and Christians during the fifth Crusade, but also in his prayers of thanksgiving for creation, his sermons preached to animals, and his insistence that all creatures are brothers and sisters under God.
A Bit More History:
Blessings of the animals/pets entered the mainstream U.S. cultural scene in the latter part of the twentieth century. Although blessings of various animals took place in different times and places, and for varying reasons, throughout Christian history, the growth of these rituals beginning in the late twentieth century is dramatic. By the early twenty-first century, hundreds, if not thousands, of these blessings take place annually.
“The animals of God’s creation inhabit the skies, the earth and the sea.
They share in the fortunes of human existence
and have a part in human life.
God, who confers gifts on all living things,
has often used the service of animals
or made them reminders of salvation…
We, therefore, invoke God’s blessing on these animals.
As we do so, let us praise the Creator
and thank God for setting us as stewards
over all the creatures of the earth. Amen”