St. Francis Day & Blessing of the Pets

St.+Francis+Day+%26+Blessing+of+the+Pets

Olivia Brown, Staff Writer

This past week on Tuesday, October 3rd & Wednesday, October 4th Ascension’s DT and SMP campuses hosted their annual Blessing of the Pets ceremony. At the service, students and faculty brought their furry (and some scaly) friends of all colors and sizes to be prayed over by the school body and to receive a special blessing. The lighthearted service is looked forward to by many, and Emmaline Leleux, senior and student of Ascension Episcopal School since pre-k3, adds that “it was [her] favorite day as a child.” The blessing of the pets provides the perfect opportunity to de-stress and beat the dreaded school week blues (as discussed in Erin McFaul’s article), but when it comes down to it, you might ask—why do we REALLY celebrate the blessing of the pets?

Well, for starters, the blessing of the pets ceremony gives us the gentle reminder to continually thank God for all of His creation, but it also marks the celebration of an important holiday—St. Francis Day! On October 4th, many churches in the United States celebrated the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, which commemorates the life of St. Francis, who was born in the 12th century and is the Catholic Church’s patron saint of animals and the environment. Aside from his love for animals and nature, though, St. Francis is also remembered for his generosity to the poor and his willingness to minister to the lepers. Students at the DT campus honored this by conducting donations to the Lafayette Animal Aid, which is a no-kill animal welfare organization dedicated to saving the lives of dogs and cats until they all have a home. Below, fourth grade student Jackson Larkin collects money to benefit the sheltered animals.

Photography Credit to Charles Hines

Overall, there is much that we can learn from the Feast of St. Francis. Mrs. Susen Brown, the middle school Christian Ed. teacher and my mother (lol), comments that “We can learn to be humble and that we have a responsibility to care for all of God’s creation. We can learn to make a difference in this world.” Father Montgomery, chaplain of Ascension Episcopal School, shared his belief that “the blessing of the pets ceremony does a great job to represent our school’s motto to be gentle, generous, truthful, kind, and brave” through all walks of life. The blessing of the pets ceremony allows pet owners to share a sacrament with their pets, ultimately giving owners peace of mind. Greer Leleux, a senior and owner of a yellow lab, Cade, commented “I like to know that my dog will go to heaven, especially now that he is getting older.” For me, the Feast of St. Francis and the blessing of the pets ceremony served as a gentle reminder to constantly thank God for all of His creation. We are very lucky to be able to come together, celebrate, and give thanks for our animal companions in the tradition of the blessing of the pets. If you are interested in reading further about the history of St. Francis day, this article by TimeandDate.com is a great source. The info concerning the history of St. Francis was taken from this website as well.

“And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.’ And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” Genesis 1:24-25. Let us always remember that animals, being formed in God’s image, should always be honored, just as we honor each other in mutual respect. Give thanks for your pets everyday, they are amongst our best companions!