Each year around the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, we host a Blessing of the Animals ceremony on our front lawn. It's always a lot of fun to meet the animals of our students and we had a very nice crowd (although we had all dogs with the exception of one brave cat!). Our presider was our good friend Fr. John Bucchino, OFM, the pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish here in Manchester.
We began with a brief Liturgy of the Word with an opening prayer and the reading of the First Creation Story from Genesis. In his homily, Fr. John pointed out that God created animals before He created humans. He thinks this is because animals have so much to teach us - loyalty, companionship, humility, etc. and by creating animals first, God was helping to teach man and woman about how to have these same attributes.
We concluded with some intentions, a final prayer, and a final blessing. Fr. John then went around to each animal and blessed each one with holy water. Members of our sophomore class then gave each owner a prayer card and holy medal of St. Francis of Assisi and a treat for the animals.
In all, a wonderful way to kick off October, a month we will be dedicating to St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si. Stay tuned!