St. Francis Day Celebration with the
Blessing of the Animals
9:30 am Service Sunday, Oct 2
Dear Members and Friends of the Community of Faith that is St. Paul's Church,
It is a custom here at St. Paul's to celebrate the Blessing of the Animals on the Sunday closest to St. Francis Day (October 4). St. Francis himself began blessing animals over 800 years ago and is recognized as the patron saint of animals and ecology This long established tradition commemorates not only the life of this most blessed saint but also invites us to celebrate the mystery of life and the gift of God's Holy Spirit which animates all creation. The service also offers pet owners a chance to bring their animals to church to celebrate their lives together and the presence of animals everywhere.
We celebrate this event during the 9:30 a.m. service this Sunday, October 2, 2016. Members of the congregation are invited to bring their pets to worship on that day. The service will be totally inside the sanctuary this year with the Blessing of the Animals incorporated into the morning worship service.
The worship is marked by a celebration of our connectedness to the entire animal kingdom and giving thanks for their friendship with us their human companions. It also reflects on the Good Earth from which we are all created with all its awesome beauty and the myriad expressions of life on this "fragile Earth, our island home." As one Australian priest meditated on this event in his own church, "To the birds who fill our skies with joyful sounds, to the exotic animals who live in distant lands and environments whose natural beauty and mysteries still amaze and inspire us, to our companion animals who share their lives with us and provide their uncomplicated love and trust in us, the world around us is filled with the beauty of animals and their presence makes us the richer for it." Therefore, it is fitting and right for us to gather for worship and give thanks to God for all this beauty and love which so enriches our lives.
Pets should be leashed or in pet carriers and you are encouraged to take pictures of the event to remember this day and share with others. There will also be a time within the service where there is a remembrance of beloved pets now deceased; often people will bring a photograph of your beloved pet for this commemoration.
Afterwards there will be a reception in the Historic Rectory and in the front gardens of the church grounds. Water and treats will be available for our pets as well.
I am joyful with you in all God's blessings to us in all creation.