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Sep 22, 2014 | Carol E. Barnwell

Churches Prepare for Blessing of the Animals: Resources Available In Spanish And English

Trinity Midtown Houston is among many Episcopal churches planning events to mark the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, October 4. St. Francis, born in the 12th century, is the patron saint of animals and the environment. Most churches will celebrate the day with pet blessings on Sunday, October 5 as will Trinity, from 4-6. A short service outdoors will feature musical entertainment by Lady BG Productions, food, kids’ activities and information tables hosted by local animal charities. Please have all pets properly restrained on a leash or secure in a carrier.
St. Francis was born in the hill country of central Italy, in Assisi around 1181. He was the only child of a prosperous cloth merchant and grew up among the town’s wealthy families. He returned from his military service only to withdraw from friends and former amusements in search of new life. During prayer, he heard a message “to rebuild my Church” and began to rebuild, by hand, a little church that was literally falling down. The public nature of his transformation caused friction with his family and led to a permanent break with his father. Francis gave away everything he had received from his family and embraced poverty, “sell what thou hast, give to the poor, and come and follow Me.”
Francis discovered his calling was to renew THE Church, not just the church and soon, others came to form a community of brothers around him. Francis preached “peace and good will with all people” traveling through towns and villages, filled with unaffected joy and excitement that cut across class and political divisions of the day. Stories of miracles, many involving his affection for animals, began to surround Francis.
In 1210, Pope Innocent III recognized Francis’ community rule, consisting of text from the Gospels and the Franciscan First Order. At the time of his death, there were more than 10,000 Franciscan brothers across Europe. Francis was acclaimed a saint in his own lifetime and formally canonized a year after his death in 1226. Today, there are both Anglican (Episcopalian) and Roman Catholic Franciscans at work across the world.
Some animal rescue options
Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition:
Reptile and Small Animal Rescue of Texas:
More information on St. Francis and Orders of Service for Blessing of the Animals is available here in English and in Spanish. To share your pictures from Blessing of the Animals with the Diocese, send them to