Fall Event: Hosting a St. Francis Celebration/Festival

October 4 is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, known as the patron saint of animals.  Many communities use the first Sunday in October as a day to honor animals and those who care for them.  In the Episcopal Church, we usually have a blessing of the animals.  At our preschool, we invite the children to bring their stuffed animals and have a blessing.

Seting aside a day for pets is a fun event that can be used as a teaching and formation event.  I always start by telling the story of St. Francis, who was kind and loving to people and animals.  Reading a book with pictures makes this fun.  Three books I recommend for any age are:

 

If blessing live animals, be sure to have leaflets for all to participate.  Having a certificate or St. Francis Pet medal to give out, will remind all who came about this day and your church.

For stuffed animals, I ask the blessing that the animal chase away bad dreams, tears, and bring comfort.  I, also have a small Saint Francis doll on hand to show the children.

A great celebration or festival includes stations for those who wish to participate.  Ideas for stations include:

Invite the Police K-9 and Horse Units for demonstrations and to be part of the blessing.

Also invite the local shelter to bring some animals for adoption.  Ask them to have materials on care of pets for children.  Also, invite a veterinarian to give out treat bags or coupons.

Invite the surrounding neighborhood to bring their pets.  Make sure you request all animals to be on leash or in a cage.

St. Francis Day Celebration or Festival is a wonderful way to show love and care for creation.  It is a chance to honor our devoted animal friends.  It is a great way to introduce new people to our church and to be seen as a church that cares.

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