By Linda White
Under a bright blue sky and warm sun, parishioners gathered on Sunday, September 30 with their pets to participate in the annual Blessing of the Animals in the courtyard of the Parish of St. Michael. Monsignor William Cuddy officiated at the ceremony that included a nine-month-old hedgehog named Pixie, dogs of many breeds, sizes, and ages, tolerant felines, and a peach-faced lovebird.
Monsignor Cuddy commented on the important role pets play in the lives of their families as well as the historic significance of all God’s creatures drawing on the writings and teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment. Each pet received a blessing and a sprinkling of holy water from Monsignor Cuddy. All voices were raised to recite The Lord’s Prayer together.
Blessing of the Animals ceremonies take place around the world commemorating the October 4 feast day of St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) who founded the religious Order of the Franciscans.
It was noted that the bears who have recently taken up residence in Bedford did not appear to be in attendance for the ceremony. However, they would certainly have received St. Francis’ blessing if they had chosen to attend.
Additional Blessing of the Animals ceremonies will be held at noon on Sunday, October 7 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and at 2:00 pm on Sunday, October 14 at the First Church of Christ in their respective church parking lots.