Humane Society to hold first
"Blessing of the Animals"
A blessing of animals, what a wonderful thing for our best friends! This year will be Manzanillo's first, to be held at the Catholic Church on the main street of Santiago, next to the Jardin, Father Antonio presiding.
The "Blessing of the Animals" promises to be an event held several times a year, to help promote public awareness of the valuable role animals play in our lives. Participants are reminded of God's love for them through the love they give to--and receive from--their pets.
The first "Blessing of the Animals will be held Wednesday, January 17 at 6 p.m. The 17th is St. Anthony's Day. St. Anthony is the patron saint of domestic animals, an appropriate beginning for this special event.
“I am looking forward to doing this blessing,” says Father Antonio. “I like sharing Francis’ vision with people. St. Francis of Assisi had a unique idea of creation. He saw all creatures as being in harmony—as one family. And so he could address them as Brother Sun, Sister Moon,...Brother Dog and Sister Cat.”
St. Francis of Assisi (1181 or 1182 - 1226) began life as the son of a wealthy merchant in the Perugia region of Italy. In 1206 he renounced his family wealth and started a new life of ministering to the poor. Following the Gospel's teachings, he lived in poverty and preached simplicity and humility. St. Francis believed that all the creatures of the earth were his brethren. Francis, whose feast day is October 4th, loved the larks flying about his hilltop town. He is said to have preached to anyone who would listen, including the birds. It is for this reason that statues of St. Francis often depict him in companionship with birds.
Francis wrote a Canticle of the Creatures, an ode to God’s living things. “All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures.” And there was testimony in the cause for St. Clare of Assisi’s canonization that referred to her little cat!
That there are today thousands of pet owners in Manzanillo attests to the continuing affection we have for our furry, feathered or finned friends.
For single householders, a pet can be a true companion. Many people arrive home from work to find a furry friend overjoyed at their return. Many a senior has a lap filled with a purring fellow creature. Families with children also enjoy having animals around. Companion for the children, watch dog--the bond between person and pet is like no other relationship, because the communication between fellow creatures is at its most basic.
People the world over enjoy the opportunity to take their animal companions to church for a special blessing, a place where the bond of creation is celebrated.
Everyone is welcome to bring their pets, of all types and sizes for the blessing. The only requisite is that they be in a carrier or on a leash for control. Though most of the pets brought for the blessing will probably be dogs and cats, others pets are welcome, too, including a parakeets, parrots, hamsters, goldfish, stuffed animals, farm animals, even pictures of animals.
St. Francis, the patron saint of animals and ecology might have said a prayer something like this:
“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 this pet. By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.”
St. Francis was a lover, a peacemaker, a unifier, a bridge. There are stories of St. Francis blessing the birds, a frightened trapped rabbit, a fish—and a story of his making peace between a wolf and the town of Gubbio.
St. Francis saw all creation—humanity, animals, the environment, plants, trees, the flowers, the sun, moon, stars, water, wind, air, all the earth—as good, as brothers and sisters, as revealing God’s love, providence and beauty to us.
What message does this "Blessing of Animals" hope to convey to the public? Mainly that God is good and gracious and wonderful, and He loves us in a very unrestricted and inclusive way.
God’s care extends beyond the human family to the whole family of creation. All creation is good. God loves all creatures.
The way you respect creation, our mother earth, the way you treat animals reflects the way you treat others. When you care for the earth and animals, it makes you a better person, a kinder person.
This event is sponsored by Friends for a Manzanillo Animal Shelter (Amigos por Refugio de los Animales, A.C.), a not-for-profit organization.
The Friends' personal "Blessing of the Animals":
"Hear our humble prayer, O God, for the animals. Especially for animals who are suffering; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that are put to death. We entreat for them all thy mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them, we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals and so to share the blessings of the merciful."
The Friends are having a Pig Roast March 3 to raise funds for their projects to help animals of Manzanillo.
The second annual Spay/Neuter Clinic will be held March 25-29, and residents of Manzanillo are encouraged to bring their pets to the clinic for sterilization at no charge. Anyone who would like to volunteer at the clinic may do so by writing or calling. Help in any way, whether it be by giving freely of your spare time, or by a monetary donation is greatly appreciated.
For more information, write: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Debi Teter at (314) 333-3334.