“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 this beloved creature 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 of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and the environment. He lived in 12th century Italy and was known for seeing nature as a reflection of God. He was known as a friend of the poor and those with leprosy. He considered animals to be brothers and sisters and was said to have preached to birds and not one would fly away. He is often portrayed in art holding birds or with a bird perched on his shoulder. His annual feast day is October 4th. Many Catholic churches invite people to bring their pets to church or at a park around this day.
In general, there is a greeting, prayer and songs. While the majority of pets brought the to events are dogs, there will be cats, birds, snakes, fish, and guinea pigs. Some brings photos of their animals who don’t leave the house. During the service, the pets are unusually quiet. At the conclusion of the short service, the priest goes around and individually blesses each pet.