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Woman holding up white fluffy dog and she and a man, both in sunglasses, are looking at the dog affectionately. Outside

Blessing the Animals – St. Nick’s News Sept. 29, 2023

Full St. Nick’s News for September 29, 2023

Dear friends,

I often joke about how our Animal Blessing day, our celebration of St. Francis is my third favorite day. Naturally Easter and Christmas are my first and second favorites. I love meeting your beloved animals (in person or in pictures) and seeking God’s blessing for them and you.

The Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi falls on October 4th each year. We are celebrating it on October 14th, due to our Bishop’s retirement party. Every year, we celebrate Francis who is known as the Patron saint of animals and the environment. In honor of him, we host a blessing of the animals event in order to give God thanks for the unconditional love our animals give us. A large part of St. Francis’s ministry included kindness to animals as well as preaching to them.

There are stories about Francis admonishing a wolf and helping him to become more peaceable. Francis went so far as to call him “brother wolf.” Other stories speak of his love of birds and his connection to them.

While walking, Francis and his companions spotted a great number of birds. Francis, being caught up in the moment, ran up to the birds. They sat still and waited expectantly for him. Francis was filled with awe and invited them to hear the Word of God. He encouraged them to praise God their Creator. Francis explained that God gave them wings to fly, feathers for clothes, and has provided all they need.

After Francis preached to the birds, they spread their wings and stretched their necks and began to rejoice and praise God. Francis gave them God’s blessing by making the sign of the cross on them. This encounter surely changed both Francis and the birds. From then on Francis made it a habit to encourage all animals to praise and love our Creator God.

I love this story. Not just because it celebrates God’s love for creation and animals. But I also love the invitation to share God’s love in our own unique way. The birds sing, the wolf guards, we laugh, play, eat, and welcome friends into our lives.

Feel free to invite your friends and family to our event on October 14th. It is a day full of love, friendship, food, art activities, and connection with God, our animals, and one another.

God’s Peace, Love, and Blessings,