Pet blessing services celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi
Each year in October, pets and humans converge in churches everywhere in alignment with the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
Pet blessing services are a way for humans to celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, embodying his love of animals and all mankind. St. Francis, patron saint of animals and the environment, was born in 1181 or 1182 and founded the Franciscan order. St. Francis also wrote The Canticle of the Creatures (Canticle of the Sun) - an affirmation of how he lived, often referring to animals as brothers and sisters to mankind.
For the past six years, pets have joined their families for a special blessing service at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor in early October. Pastor Michael Ryan notes that the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi is highly regarded by Christians of all demoninations, and interestingly enough, "most who attend (the pet blessing service) are not connected to the congregation, and some have no church affiliation at all." Open to everyone, pets come into the church for a brief service, an individual blessing and afterwards, and there are treats for humans and pets alike. Each year averages about 15 attendees or so.
Think that these special blessing services are a new idea? Not so! For centuries, farm animals were blessed at rural churches.
Several area churches will be holding pet blessing services soon:
Sunday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m.
Marble Memorial United Methodist Church
8 Park Lane, Milan. Call 734-439-2421 for more info. Located on the corner of Park and Main Streets in historic, downtown Milan. Blessing takes place on the side lawn of the church.
Dr. Michael L. Sweet, DVM and Rev. Dr. Patricia A. Green, Pastor officiating.
Saturday, Oct. 2 at 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 3 at 2:00pm
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
2250 East Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor. Call 734-769-2550 for more information. Blessing of Pets and Animals will be held on the plaza in front of the church. All are welcome.
Sunday, October 3 at 5:00pm
721 East Huron Street, Ann Arbor. Call 734-665-0606 for more information. Canterbury House, together with Lord of Light Lutheran Campus Ministry and the Wesley Foundation, will be celebrating a Blessing of the Animals on the Diag at the University of Michigan. Canterbury House’s Jazz band, Quartex, will be providing the music. All are welcome.
Monday, October 4 at 6:00pm
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
411 Florence Street, Ypsilanti. Call 734-483-3360 for additional information. Blessing of Pets in Church.
Lorrie Shaw is a regular pets contributor on AnnArbor.com, pet blogger on More Than Four Walls and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. She frequently writes about the interaction between animals and humans and other social issues connected to pets. She welcomes your contact by e-mail.