Following the 10:00 A.M. Mass last Sunday, it was fun to welcome some wonderful animal friends to St. Joseph’s Parish.  We congregated in the parking lot for the annual blessing of pets to commemorate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  Among the many humans in attendance, we were joined by cats, dogs, a beautiful horse who enjoys snacking on Table Talk pies, and a cute little pig named Oliver who oinked a few times when splashed with holy water!  Of course, the birds were chirping from their roosts in the nearby trees.  St. Francis would have been proud!

Psalm 147:9 tells us that God is concerned for all His creation, including the animals He created.  We can take from Scripture that if God takes care of animals, then so should we.  Many parents introduce a pet into their home to teach their children responsibility and other positive qualities, such as unconditional love, forgiveness, and steady companionship.  That’s why pets are taken to hospitals and nursing homes to interact with people in need.  They help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.  We can learn an incredible deal from animals.

Good St. Francis, patron of animals, you loved all of God’s creatures.  To you they were your brothers and sisters.  Help us to follow your example of treating every living thing with kindness.  Watch over our pets.  Keep them – and their human companions – safe, healthy, and always in God’s loving care.