Why do we bless pets?
Saint Francis of Assisi lived in Italy in the 12th century. Francisco grew up in a wealthy family, but as a young man, he renounced his riches and worldly goods to live in simplicity, humility, and poverty. When Francis spoke everyone listened, even the animals. He told the animals that Jesus had loved them too.
Tradition says that: There was a wolf who lived in the city of Gubbio. The wolf entered the city every night, to scare or feed on one of its inhabitants. Francisco spoke with “Brother Wolf” and discovered that he was only hungry. Francisco explained that being hungry was not a good enough reason to eat people or their pets or to terrorize them.
The wolf eventually became so docile that people fed it and children ran around the city on its back. In the town of Gubbio, Francis built a small open-air stable and placed people to represent Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the angels. Then, he added the animals – a cow, a donkey, a sheep, etc. When asked about them, Francis responded: “Surely the animals also praised the new Messiah in the same way that the shepherds and angels did.”
And so today, we have Christmas nativity scenes with people and animals worshiping the Messiah.
In honor of this blessed saint of the church, we gather today with our animals, our pets, our service animals, police dogs and horses, zoo animals, and all of God's creatures, and we give thanks for what they do and for what they mean to us.