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The Blessing of Pets
on the Day of Francis of Assisi

from T.S. Simons, Blessings for God's People, 1983
adapted by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

October 4

 

The following order, taken from Blessing for God's People, clearly intends that those using it will include not only pets but children as well.  It is written in a style that is has words and concepts that should be easily understood by child participants.  At the same time, adults who participate will also find meaning.

 

As I have used this order annually on St. Francis' Day, I have gathered folks outside the church at a garden that has a small St. Francis statue and therefore makes an appropriate place for the Pet Blessing to occur.  I have known people to do such blessings in parking lots and even indoors, although I think the outdoors is perhaps more practical.

 

The order is intentionallly short.  Animals don't tend to do liturgy well, especially when brought together with the distraction of other animals. Be prepared for the unexpected:  the animal who can't keep quiet during prayer, the animal who bolts during the hymn or the goldfish bowl that gets dropped during the readings.  Still, if you have never done such a blessing, I think that you will find it rewarding for you and those who participate.

 

P. Bless the Lord, all you his creatures.

C. Bless the Lord, in heaven and on earth.

 

P. Let us pray. O God, you have made us and these pets and all living things. You are even more wonderful than the things you have made. We thank you for giving us these pets who give us joy. As you take care of us, so also we ask that you help us to take care of our pets who trust us to take care of them. By doing this, we know that we share in your own love for all creation. We ask this in Jesus' name.

C. Amen

 

First Lesson:  Genesis 1:23-28,31a

And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.

     The word of the Lord.

C. Thanks be to God.

 

Second Lesson:  Psalm 104:24,27-31

O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works.

     The word of the Lord.

C. Thanks be to God.

 

P. For all your creatures that breath and move and have life,

C. We thank you, O Lord.

 

P. That we may love and honor the works of your hand,

C. We thank you, O Lord.

 

P. That each pet here may be treasured with care,

C. We thank you, O Lord.

 

P. Most high, almighty Lord, creator God, yours are the praise, the glory, the honor and all blessings! To you alone do all things belong. Be praised, O Father, for giving us the animals, birds, and fish which fill your world. May we think of you and thank you when we play with them and care for them. Be praised, O Father, for making us so happy to have our pets and to have them to play with. We ask you that we may be good to our pets always, so that they may be happy also. Help us always to take care of our pets so that they will be healthy. Father, your world is wonderful. May we all come into your even greater world of the kingdom of heaven where we shall see even greater things and where we shall all live and love forever. We ask this thought Christ our Lord.

C. Amen

 

P. As God has blessed you with these pets, so may they be blessed by your love and care. And the blessing of Almighty God, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit be with you now and forever.

C. Amen

 

All sing the Hymn of St. Francis:

 

All creatures of our God and King,

Lift up your voice with us and sing:

      Alleluia! Alleluia!

O burning sun with golden beam

And silver moon with softer gleam:

      Oh, praise him! Oh, praise him!

      Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

Let all things their Creator bless

And worship God in humbleness.

      Oh, praise him! Alleluia!

Oh, praise the Father, praise the Son,

And praise the Spirit, Three in One,

      Oh, praise him! Oh, praise him!

      Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!