If you drove down Aboite Center Road around 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 4, you may have been surprised to see over 50 animals outside Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School’s main entrance. All were patiently waiting to receive an animal blessing.
“I brought my Boston Terrier, Sophie,” said 6th grader Austin Farris. “It made me feel good that my mom brought her. It’s cool that we get our animals blessed. They are a big part of our family.”
October 4 is the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi, who is recognized by Catholics as the patron saint of animals, merchants, and ecology. It is for this reason that Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School offers students and their family the opportunity to bring their pet to school on this day every year to receive a blessing.
“St. Francis taught that all of God’s creation is a gift and we should give thanks to God,” said officiator Deacon Jim Kitchens. “So on this day, we say thank you to God by blessing the animals.”
For some Saint Elizabeth students and faculty members, this blessing has become an annual tradition with their pet.
“I really like the blessing because I feel that God has put our pets here on this earth to help us find joy and happiness in times of great need either when sad, lonely or happy,” said first grade teacher, Mrs. Julie Peters who brought her 3-year old Newfoundland, Simon. “Saint Francis taught us this and what a great way to celebrate his feast day.”
Dogs and cats ranging in size, bread, and age were attendees to this special occasion which was officiated by Deacon Kitchens.
“Having my dog, Barry, at school was awesome,” said 7th grader Michael Nussear. “Deacon Jim blessed him with holy water.”
The ceremony included singing Make Me a Channel of Your Peace, silent prayer, lead prayer, and sprinkling of holy water.
“God is the creator of all life and life is our ultimate gift,” said Deacon Jim Kitchens.
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