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BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. October 4

Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), patron saint of animals and ecology, is known for his love of the Creation of God. In his "Canticle of the Creatures", he refers to animals as his brothers and sisters. His feast is celebrated on October 4.

In his recent apostolic encyclical, "Laudato Si' ("On the Care of the Common House"), Pope Francis showed that he has much in common with St. Francis, not only the name; by challenging us to take care of God's creation. Stories about San Francis and animals include their communication with them to express their unity with creation. The most common stories include his preaching to birds and his experiences with rabbits, fish and a wolf.

It has become a common practice for the church to sponsor pet blessings on or near St. Francis Day to honor our love of animals.

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