Animal blessing scheduled for Oct. 1 at St. Joseph
Saint Francis of Assisi loved animals great and small. The gentle man believed all creation was a manifestation of God's beauty. On Oct. 1, St. Joseph's Church will celebrate the life of St. Francis by holding a Blessing of Animals.
The event will occur the Saturday before the Saint's feast day, which is Oct. 4.
Director of liturgy Bill Bradley said the event is open to the public and organizers hope to draw animals and owners of all shapes and sizes to be blessed. All animals are welcome. Bradley said there will be horses, dogs, cats, fish, tarantulas and more.
While some may think it odd to bless animals, Bradley said it is common practice in the Catholic faith, especially near the feast day of St. Francis.
"In our Catholic faith we certainly bless animals," said Bradley.
In addition to the blessing rite, a children's choir will perform and Last Hope animal rescue will be on site with animals. Hope Rides, a non-profit that uses the interaction between humans and horses to help youth build self-confidence while developing important life skills, also will be on hand with a horse. Other animal groups and organizations will be on hand too.
Father Paul Jarvis said even those without a pet are welcome to attend.
"We're inviting ministers from the area to join us on this traditional blessing associated with the Feast of St. Francis," said Jarvis.
This is the first year St. Joseph's will open the animal blessing to the public but Jarvis said they hope to make it an annual event.
The event will begin at 11 a.m. and be held outside of St. Joseph Church, 13900 Biscayne Ave., outside the school entrance. Bradley said if there is a steady rain the event will be cancelled but otherwise they will tough it out.
Bradley said people should dress for the weather. He said pet owners should keep their pet's health in mind and prepare for them. On that note he added that pet owners should be ready to clean up after their animal as well.