"A Celebration of Creation" Animal Blessings DVD
Patrick Malone Producer/Director
St. Francis of Assisi is one of the most outstanding and beloved of all the saints. So much so that the newly elected Pope has chosen the name Pope Francis.
Saint Francis was an extraordinary man who had an incredible life. He was born in Assisi, Italy in 1181 into a rich family. He fought in the Crusades, spent a year in prison, had mystical visions, and was on the forefront of helping the poor and the sick. He is the Patron Saint of Animals and the Patron Saint of the Environment and Ecology.
St.Francis of AssisiIn many ways Francis was ahead of his time by almost a thousand years! He was aware that all life on Earth, animal, plant and human was connected. He saw God in all of creation and because God deserves to be respected and honored, he believed that we should love and respect all that He created.
Saint Francis had a particular love for nature and the animal kingdom. It is believed that he could talk to animals and he had several noted encounters with them. He tamed the wolf of Gubbio and he preached to the birds.
St. Francis tames the wolf of GubioSaint Francis's love of animals is reflected and carried out today in the Blessing of the Animals that are held throughout much of the world. Though Animal Blessings pre-date St. Francis, most contemporary Animal Blessing celebrations are connected with him and are commonly held on or around The Feast of Saint Francis on October 4th.
In Los Angeles, the Olvera Street Blessing dates back to about 1781 and is the oldest blessing of the animals in the USA. This actually takes place on the original site of Los Angeles.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine began its blessing of the animals in 1985 to attract attention to the plight of the Earth's environment and to honor the diverseness of life on our Earth.
Bishop Blesses golden eagle Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Not only the Church, but also the scientific community chose Saint Francis as the Patron Saint of Animals and of the Environment. The new Pope chose the name Francis because he “was a man of peace, a man of poverty, a man who loved and protected creation.”