Blessing of the Animals

On Sunday October 4 from 2-3pm, our Rector Lisa will be sitting on the front steps of the St. John’s sanctuary below the red doors, available to provide blessings for any of your animal friends. This will not be the traditional service, but a joyful and informal way to visit with Lisa (separated by masks and at least six feet apart), introduce your pets to her, and receive a blessing. Please come wearing masks, and remain at least six feet apart from Lisa and each other. We welcome all kinds of animals – dogs, ferrets, goldfish, parakeets, iguanas and hamsters are all equally welcome (in safe cages of course).

We celebrate our animals on October 4 because that is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis experienced a radical conversion of life in which he renounced ownership of all physical property and instead lived, utterly unencumbered, devoted to serving God. This freedom opened him up to take great delight in God’s creation. He wrote poems and songs celebrating the sun and moon, experienced wonder over animals and birds, and felt not poverty, but abundance and joy through his single-minded devotion to God.

On October 4, as we honor St. Francis and pay attention to God’s creation, let’s consider all the ways we can celebrate the many living beings we are connected to. Instead of focusing on what we need to “give up”—like eating less meat, paying more for sustainable energy, etc.—let’s focus on the delight and wonder we will gain, as St. Francis did. We can experience great joy simply observing and honoring myriad living creatures who also call “this fragile earth, our island home” in the words of the Book of Common Prayer.