Traditionally, each year around the Feast of St. Francis (4th October), we invite local people to bring their animals especially their pets to the friary so as to give them a blessing and to offer prayers for the care and welfare of animals generally. This is to remind us that all creatures are created and blessed by God who sees them as "good". This tradition honouring our founder, St. Francis' love for creation goes back many years, and is very popular with animal lovers in particular.
Blessed are You, Lord God,
Creator of all that lives!
On the fifth and sixth days of creation
You called forth every kind of fish in the sea
and bird in the air,
and all animals on the land.
You inspired St. Francis
to call all creatures his brothers and sisters,
for he saw in them a sign of Your fatherly care for us.
And so we ask You to bless these animals (or this animal) +
By the power of Your love
enable them to live according to You plan.
And may we always do Your will
and praise You
for all of Your beauty in creation.
Praised be You, my Lord
in all Your creatures!
Below are some photos taken at the Blessing of Animals held in the friary garden in Killarney, Co. Kerry. Fr. Declan Timmons ofm, a Franciscan friar began with this opening prayer:
in Your love You create all things,
and within Your great purpose
provide for every kind of animal.
May the whole of creation rejoice in You,
and every creature experience the joy and wonder
of the life for which You have made it.
Give to all Your people
an attitude of care and consideration for animals,
that we may honour You, the creator,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- St. Francis