The Blessing of the Animals at Our Lady of Peace Church is celebrated on the first Sunday in October each year. Held in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, the event brings together pets and their human companions at the 10:30 mass and at a special ceremony in the church hall during which cats, dogs, birds, and even snakes are blessed by Father Daly.
Although many churches bless pets in honor of St. Francis, Our Lady of Peace is one of the few that welcomes animals at mass as well.
"I have attended the Blessing of the Animals mass for many years, and the one thing that truly amazes me is that there is not one bark, meow, or any other animal sound out of all the special guests present," said parishioner Janice Dooner Lynch. "There is truly a feeling of peace throughout the mass, which--dare I say it?--is a sign that Our Lady of Peace Church truly lives up to its name."
By the time the celebration moves to the church hall, there is a much more festive atmosphere.
"That is when a concert of barking begins!" Janice added. "As a member of the feline minority present, our wonderful cat, Plum never appreciated the vocalizing of her canine co-attendees at the Our Lady of Peace Blessing of the Animals. However, when the time came for the animals to be blessed, quiet once again descended upon the crowd. And I can honestly say that Plum started purring when it was her turn to be blessed by Father Daly. She and all the other animals knew that something special was being done for them. And we, their owners, very much appreciated the fact that Our Lady of Peace would recognize our special family members with a blessing for good health and a long life."
Plum, pictured with Father Daly and Janice at The Blessing of The Animals in 2008, was a member of Janice's family for 12 years. Sadly, Plum died after a brief illness in May. For those who have an intense bond with their dog or cat, losing a pet can be a devastating event. Coping with the loss of a pet, it is important to receive or give consolation during the grieving process.
Although Plum won't be at the Blessing of the Animals, Janice will be there, along with a full house of pets waiting to be blessed at Our Lady of Peace Church this Sunday, October 5th, at 10:30. Bring your furry and feathered friends, join us and experience one of the events that make Our Lady of Peace Church the unique faith community it is today - a church that should be allowed to continue its mission for many years to come.
- Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
- Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
- Where there is injury, pardon;
- Where there is discord, harmony;
- Where there is error, truth;
- Where there is doubt, faith;
- Where there is despair, hope;
- Where there is darkness, light;
- And where there is sadness, joy.
- O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
- To be consoled as to console;
- To be understood as to understand;
- To be loved as to love.
- For it is in giving that we receive;
- It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
- And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. - Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi