Annual Blessing of the Pets
Each year, October 4th is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the day the Church honors a great friar from Assisi, Italy. He is the patron saint of the environment and animals because he loved all creatures.
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 (and he allegedly preached to even the birds).
In 1224, Francis became the first saint in history to receive the stigmata (the wounds of Christ crucified). On October 4, 1226, Francis died in the town of Assisi and was quickly canonized by Pope Gregory IX.
At St. Josaphat, we hold our annual Blessing of the Pets as a way to mark this day and honor the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. Bring your dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, turtles, guinea pigs, rabbits, and any other animal you may have!