Celebrating Saints’ Days reminds us that Christians have spread God’s love in times of joy and deep sadness, preaching the Gospel with words if necessary.
Here are 4 ideas for sharing the love of Christ with St. Francis.
Create a Slideshow
Almost every faith community now uses slidedecks with worship. To share their love of their pets in a covid-free way, ask parishioners to send in images of their loved creatures. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Ely, MN has used this for years, including the blessing of in-person and distanced pets, as well as creating an animal-oriented Prayers of the People, including prayers for pets loved and those in need of our care. A slideshow from a few years ago can be viewed here. One of the joys of this type of pet blessing is that it welcomes allows for pets who normally won’t make the journey…but also people who might be reluctant to walk through the doors, as well as those who do not live near a church that offers these blessings.
This same platform can be a tool for outreach. Post a flyer at local dog parks and pet stores, with requests for submissions using a short link. Be sure to send the completed slideshow back to everyone who submitted!
As churches have begun to open up, some are welcoming parishioners from the parking lot. Invite parishioners and their pets to a drive-by pet parade, providing blessings and treats to visitors — always wearing a mask and appropriately distanced!
For those who are not able to be in-person, sending a blessing card and collar medallion is a tried-and-true way to bless at a distance. Medallions can be found online at pet stores as well as Catholic shops.
Stick to zoom! St Paul’s, Greenville NC will gather after the primary worship service, in a new meeting room with a pet blessing liturgy. They will use breakout rooms for clergy to bless individual households’ pets.
Sing a New Song!
Songwriter Amanda Udis-Kessler has written a beautiful new hymn in thanksgiving for those animals whom we love and whose care is entrusted to us.
You can listen to the mp3 here and download the pdf of lyrics and music here. Amanda offers this music free of charge. Please cite her as the lyricist and songwriter.
Blessed and Blessing
We are all hungry for more tactile ways of being the church and being disciples. One way to meet that need is to send a flyer to households. This eye-catching flyer has a brief biography of St. Francis, a short scripture reading, prayers and a short rubric, for those at home to ask God’s blessing on our pets.
Download the 2-page flyer here or click on the image above.
Created by the Rev. Anna V. Ostenso Moore, Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Rev. Jennifer McNally, St. Anne’s, Sunfish Lake and Table 229, this flyer was made to be shared. Please cite appropriately.
How are you celebrating?
We’d love to hear how your community is leaning into this ancient-and-new moment in Pet Blessings. Comment below or on Facebook!
Covid-19 transformed traditional religious services and ceremonies into potential breeding grounds for infection, forcing churches across the United States to shut their doors for weeks. But I’m glad some churches were open now. God is good!