by Alexandra Hanlon 

Have you ever thought about getting your pet blessed? On September 30th, during the Alumni and Family Weekend at Mount Saint Mary College, President Father Kevin E. Mackin, OFM, had students and members of the community lined up on the patio of the Guzman Chapel to have their animals blessed to celebrate Saint Francis.

The pets, ranging from dogs and cats to fish and hamsters, were sprinkled with holy water and had a prayer of blessing read over them, as each owner walked away with pride that their pet received something so special. The Blessing of the Animals’ Prayer (with the exception of a few changed words) goes 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.”

It was a special day indeed for God’s furry, feathered, and finned friends. Of the blessings, Father Kevin said, “The bond between person and pet is like no other relationship, because the communication between fellow creatures is at its most basic. Eye-to-eye, a man and his dog, or a woman and her cat, are two creatures of love, no wonder people enjoy the opportunity to take their animal companions for a special blessing. Church is the place where the bond of creation is celebrated.” Both pets and owners walked away that day with a closer bond to God and to each other.