In case you missed this awhile back…I wrote this piece for BustedHalo® some time ago about the great Saint Francis’ piece

If you’ve ever seen dog owners walking to church with their pooches in ridiculous outfits, sprayed with doggie perfume and a bow in their fur you’ve stumbled upon the annual “blessing of the animals” on the Feast Day of St Francis, October 4. In years past I witnessed one woman’s dog in a top hat and tails. Another dressed in a doggy business suit. A third looked like a clown (both dog and master).

I couldn’t help but laugh to myself when I overheard conversations in the pews about how smart their silly mutt was and how much love they received coming home to the wagging tail that greeted them at the door. Owners shared recipes about what they cook for their pets, talked about what they’ll dress them up for on Halloween and even celebrated their animal friends’ birthdays complete with party hats and a big bash.

Reveling in all of this canine eccentricity seemed odd to me until I visited a Franciscan friend of mine in upstate New York the day before last year’s blessing of the animals.

“Mike, just wait until tomorrow. You’ll see sheep, and cats, and snakes, and ferrets besides the dozens of dogs that will make their way here. I swear the second coming of Christ could be happening and if someone else did a prayer service across the street with animals, more people would show up for that!”

True enough! Read on to hear more about Francis, a man who we know mostly for his love on animals but who has a lot more to offer us than gardens and dog blessings.

And later today, check out my dog’s blog for on the spot (no pun intended) reporting videos from my parish’s animal blessing at hazehayes.blogspot.com.

And offer a prayer to St Francis for peace–something we all need.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

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