Catholic Parishes and Schools Celebrate Feast of St. Francis

Blessing of the Animals

October 01, 2008

Catholic parishes and schools throughout the Archdiocese of Washington will welcome four-legged and winged creatures and pets of all kinds this weekend (October 3-5) as they celebrate the Feast of St. Francis with prayers, readings and the blessings of animals.

St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day is observed by the Catholic Church on October 4, is the patron saint of animals and ecology. He lived in Italy between 1181 and 1226, rejecting a life of wealth for one of poverty. He founded the Franciscan religious order and was known for his holiness, peacefulness and love for all of God’s creations, including animals.

Highlighted below are some of the celebrations this Friday, Saturday and Sunday:

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Annunciation School, 3825 Klingle Place, NW (202-362-1408)
On Friday, October 3, at 8:15 a.m., a brief prayer service and blessing of the children’s animals (both living and stuffed) will be celebrated outside on the blacktop with the children and parents.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

St. Camillus School, 1500 St. Camillus Drive, Silver Spring (301-434-2344)
On Friday, October 3, from 9:30 a.m. – noon, Franciscan friars from Holy Name College will visit the pre-kindergarten through 5th grade classrooms and read children’s stories on the life of St. Francis.

On Saturday, October 4, at 3:30 p.m., the parish will have a blessing of the animals outside of the church building. The blessing also will feature the unveiling of a new statue of St. Francis.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 6701 Muncaster Mill Road, Derwood (301-840-1407)
On Sunday, October 5, from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., the parish will hold its annual Feast of St. Francis parish picnic with a blessing of the animals at 3:00 p.m.

St. John the Evangelist School, 10201 Woodland Drive, Silver Spring (301-681-7656)
On Friday, October 3, at 8:15 a.m., the school will celebrate the life of St. Francis with a parade of pets, prayer and a blessing of the animals on the upper playground.

Resurrection Parish, 3315 Greencastle Road, Burtonsville (301-236-5200)
On Saturday, October 4, at 9:00 a.m., the parish will hold its first blessing of the animals outside the church, with all parishioners invited to bring their animals for a blessing.

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY

St. John the Evangelist School, 8912 Old Branch Avenue, Clinton (301-868-2010)
On Friday, October 3, at 11:00 a.m., all of the students and parents will gather on the lawn in front of church for a blessing of their animals.

St. Mary of the Mills School, 106 St. Mary’s Place, Laurel (301-498-1433)
On Friday, October 3, at 2:00 p.m., students will gather on the back playground for the annual blessing of the pets.

The Archdiocese of Washington serves about 30,000 students in 98 elementary, secondary, special schools, and early learning centers in the District of Columbia and Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland.

Contact:
Kathy Dempsey
Office of Communications
301-853-4519
[email protected]