The Blessing of the Animals

In commemoration of the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony’s held their annual Blessing of the Animals in the courtyard after mass today.

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Father Mike calls in the animals.

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Bless the Lord, all you his creatures, and forget not all his benefits.

Let us pray.  Most high, omnipotent good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world, that following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with the perfectness of joy.  Oh God, you have made us and all living things.  You are even more wonderful than what you have made.  We thank you for us these pets who bring us joy.  As you take care of us, so also, we ask that you help that we might take care of those who trust us to look after them.  By doing this, we share in your own love for all of creation.  We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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A Bernese Mountain Dog prays along with his owner.

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Michelle holds Jackson and Mickey, while I take pictures.

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This mixed breed listens intently as Father Mike blesses the gathered.

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The reverent Dachshund.

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The blessing of the English Setter hunting dogs.

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Action Jackson “willingly” receives his blessing.  We had Mickey blessed twice, and wondered if it should have been an exorcism instead.

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Thank you Lord!

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It was a treat to match parishioners with their pets, as we typically would never see the various farm and domestic animals that our neighbors may have.

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Michelle and I have owned two Bernese Mountain Dogs (Rebel and Dixie), and have a soft spot for the breed.

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Yes, horses and other livestock too!

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Weimaraners.

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German Shepard’s.

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Saint Anthony was a friend of St. Francis and became a Franciscan priest.  This statue on the grounds of St. Anthony’s has special meaning for today.

There was a man in Rimini who refused to believe the doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  St Anthony could not convince the man by his words alone.  The man made this deal with St. Anthony:  That he would believe if his mule would.  The unbelieving man would starve his mule for three days, he would then bring his mule to the town square, Anthony, would bring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  If the hungry animal would come to Jesus in the monstrance, which held the host, rather than a bucket of food, then the man would accept the Church’s teachings and believe that Jesus was truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.

On the third day the man came into the town square with his very hungry mule.  St. Anthony approached from the other side of the square with the Sacred Host.  Many people, both believers and unbelievers alike watched to see what would happen.  A large bucket of oats and a bundle of fragrant hay were placed before the hungry animal.  But all this was ignored by the mule.  Instead, the mule approached our Saint and fell on her knees before the Blessed Sacrament to adore Jesus.  True to his word, the man made a profession of faith in the Real Presence because his mule had believed first.

 

 

 

 

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