Monday, June 14, 2004

126 A Service for Blessing the Animals

I answered a lot of odd questions when I was the Librarian of the Veterinary Medicine Library at Ohio State University, and I comforted many grieving pet owners who'd lost a pet or received bad news. However, I was never asked to direct anyone to a liturgy or service for animals. But there is one at a sermon resource page on the internet.

"Each year on or near the Feast Day of St. Francis, which falls on October 4th, there are requests for a liturgy of blessing for animals. The Rev. Robert P. Morrison of the Episcopal Parish of St. James in Lincoln City, Oregon responded to these requests in 1998 by posting a liturgy to those subscribed to Propertalk." His liturgy is reproduced at Sermon and Lectionary Resources with permission.

It includes some program suggestions: "A brief homily can follow upon the reading of the Lessons. Let the mood of the animals be a guide to length. Something appropriately Franciscan and short might be ventured. After all the animals are not going to be impressed by even the most eloquent of preachers. The two hymns chosen here are, of course, by St. Francis.

You may wish to have some form of meal at the Church afterwards for the humans. Beforehand, you might go to local pet stores whose owners, usually, are more than happy to give "sample" packs of dog, cat and bird food, so the animals get treats also. (Give them verbal credit as you pass out the treats at the end of the blessing.)"

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