While sending Maddie to Catholic school has its negatives (the price, for instance), one of the absolute best things about her school, the event I look forward to every year, is the blessing of the animals.
It’s an annual tradition (always on October 4th, unless the day falls on a weekend) stemming from St. Francis of Assisi feast day, the day where we celebrate and honor Saint Francis, the Catholic deacon and preacher who started the order of the Franciscans. We bless the animals on this day because he also is the patron saint of animals and the environment.
I love the image of him. I used to have a statue of him that I put in my backyard (actually, an old boyfriend had a statue of him that I took and put in my garden). The image of a monk holding his hands out to feed the birds makes me think that sometimes, just sometimes, the Catholic church had it right.
So this morning, Maddie, Luke, and I took Baily to be blessed. We always take Baily and never the cat. Taking both seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Plus, lets’ be honest, I love my dog so much more than my cat.
The whole school brings their pets: most bring dogs, some cats, there are always a few turtles, hamsters, and fish, and this year we were graced with a goose and a horse as well.
Baily didn’t seem to interested in listening to the priest’s blessing, but she sure had fun checking out all the other dogs:
Finally, the priest came around and blessed Baily. Actually Luke, Maddie, and I all got a sprinkling of the holy water too, so I’m feeling extra blessed this evening.
All in all it was a good morning. The kids have a great time, they learn about an amazing and devoted man who spent his life preaching kindness to animals and the earth, Baily gets to have an extra spiritual day, and Luke pretended to be a dog the rest of the day, totally embarrassing his sister as he crawled to the school exit to leave, barking the entire way.