Friday is World Animal Day!
First recognized in 1931 in Florence, Italy, the Oct. 4 World Animal Day was started at an ecologists convention as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species.
Since then, World Animal Day has become a day for remembering and paying tribute to all animals and the people who love and respect them. It's celebrated in different ways in every country, with no regard to nationality, religion, faith or political ideology.The date was chosen as it is tied to the Feast of St. Francis of Asisi, the patron saint of animals. On Friday, Pope Francis visited Assisi, Italy on the Feast of his namesake.
It is believed that on World Animal Day, it falls on us humans to
give the day a special meaning. The most
common way that people honor their animals at this time of year is to attend a
blessing of the animals. The Cathedral of
Christ the King in Buckhead, like many metro Atlanta churches, is holding
an animal blessing service this weekend.
A menagerie of dogs and a handful of cats, guinea pigs, teddy bears, and more can be found at these events, where prayer is given that humans all over the world will respect creation and care for animals.
Christ the King will hold its blessing service on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Other local churches holding animal blessings on Saturday include St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church in Dunwoody, Columbia Presbyterian Church in Decatur, Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Flowery Branch, and Saint Thomas The Apostle Catholic Church in Smyrna. Grace United Methodist Church in Midtown will holds its animal blessing on Sunday morning in Piedmont Park.
If you want to stay home to bless your pet, the website AmericanCatholic.org suggests the following prayer:
“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.”
How will you try to give special meaning to World Animal Day?
Eden Landow contributed to this article