Church blesses animals in honor of St. Francis

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MANILA, Oct. 7, 2012— The Our Lady of Remedies Parish Church in Malate, Manila opened its doors to different pets on Sunday to mark the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

Dogs, cats, birds, and even snakes and tarantulas were welcomed and blessed as part of the celebration for anyone who live faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. 

Fr. Michael Martin of Malate Church said the annual celebration seeks to remind the faithful that caring for God’s creation is not just a slogan, but is a teaching with moral dimensions that cannot be ignored.

What makes the occasion more relevant today, according to him, is to raise awareness of the people amid the wanton destruction of the environment and wildlife.

“Today, there’s a terrible destruction of God’s creation and there’s a greater need than even before to reverse this pattern of destruction,” Martin said.

“Stop destroying God’s creation… so symbolically we do that today by bringing animals, plants and samples of life,” he said.

The official feast day of St. Francis is October 4 but the Malate Church decided to celebrate it again today to accommodate and bless more animals.

The parish also offered free rabies vaccinations to dogs and cats inside the church grounds from 9am to 12nn.

St. Francis was an Italian monk from the 12th century known for his love of the environment and animals.

Various parishes in the country continue the legacy of the saint with ministries and activities that protect both people and the planet. [CBCPNews]


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