On The Feast of Saint Francis (of Assisi), October 4, The Grove community gathered in Chapel for the Annual Blessing of the Animals as part of the Thanksgiving Service.
In his early 20’s, St Francis left his affluent life-style to live in poverty among the poor. He founded an order of monks, now known as the Franciscans. Because of his devotion to those in need and his concern for the environment, Francis became known as the Patron Saint of Animals. And, so we observe the Blessing of the Animals on his Feast Day.
At this year’s Service, many day-students brought pets from home to be blessed by Father Glenn Empey, School Chaplain. LCS staff members also brought their family pets. While many students, who were not able to bring their pets from home, brought their favourite stuffed animals to stand in for their home pets. And, some boarders brought their favourite stuffed animals from their rooms just to have them included on their own in the Blessing.
In all, the congregation this year, included the two-legged Grove community plus an assortment of dogs, kittens, cats, bunnies, fish, turtles, and small snakes. This is a fun gathering of the community following a special Thanksgiving dinner with all the festive trimmings. The excitement comes to a bit of a crescendo at the actual point of Blessing since most of the pets find some special way to make sure their presence is well noted by all, especially as they move to the Altar for the Blessing. Of course, this adds to the over all excitement that the animals bring to the Chapel Service. The stuffed animals fit well into the pattern by being well animated by their
owners at that point.
The Blessing of the Animals is also a time for us to give thanks as a community for all the blessings that we have in our lives. It is a time to be especially conscious of those blessings bestowed on each of us and to remember those in need.
Once again this year, the Annual Blessing of the Animals was a festive opportunity to pay particular attention to the creatures in our midst and to be conscious of all the gifts for which we are to be thankful especially at this time of the year.