Blessing of Animals at Our Lady of Mercy School
The rain did not stop the Blessing of Animals on the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron of animals, Monday, October 4th at Our Lady of Mercy School. Father Daniel Mahoney was met by countless families looking to have their cherished pets blessed. All were welcome from snails to gerbils to cats and dogs – this tradition has long been a family favorite event in the OLM community.
The blessing of animals dates back 800 years to the life of Saint Francis of Assisi (1181–1226). He first blessed animals early in his ministry sometime between 1210–1215. Tradition has it that he was wandering around outdoors one warm afternoon, full of self-doubt, when he noticed a flock of birds in his path. He immediately felt the need to first talk to them as though they were his equals and then preach to them about God’s glories and the reasons why men and animals should be grateful for these blessings. The tradition of the Blessing of Animals on St. Francis’ feast day continues today and recalls his love for animals as expressed in his Canticle of Creatures.