PET BLESSING 10/02/15
By BRITTANY TUTT
CAPTION: St. Columban church members brought their family pets to the church on Friday afternoon where they were blessed by Father Ben Kneib. This annual pet blessing is in honor of St. Francis of Assisi's feast day on October 4.
Many animals gathered outside of the St. Columban Catholic Church on Friday afternoon for the annual pet blessing in honor of St. Francis of Assisi's feast day on October 4. Parents of Bishop Hogan children brought their family pets to the church around 2:30 p.m., and the blessing occurred around 3 p.m. after school had let out. Among the many animals that were blessed Friday were horses, donkeys, rabbits and dogs.
At the pet blessing, Father Ben Kneib of the Saint Columban's Catholic Church, told the story of St. Francis and the animals to those in attendance. Kneib said St. Francis was traveling with some of his companions when they saw a flock of birds sitting up in a tree. St. Francis decided that he was going to share the message of Christ with these birds; so, he walked up to them, preached to them and blessed them. St. Francis was in awe when the birds did not shy away from him as he approached them. He told them they should praise their Creator and always love him because he gave them feathers for clothes, wings to fly, and etc. The birds began to spread their wings, stretch their necks and gaze at St. Francis. They were rejoicing and praising God according to their nature. St. Francis then walked through the middle of the birds, turned around and came back, touching the birds' heads and bodies with his tunic. Finally, he gave them his blessing and they flew off. From that day on, St. Francis made it his habit to spread the word of Christ to all creatures.
St. Francis loved animals because they were created by God and they animals are often seen around him in his pictures. Kneib prayed, "Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless these pets. By the power of your love, enable them to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation..." After all pets were blessed, Kneib went around to meet each animal.