We Honor St. Francis of Assisi
by Mary McEntee McGill
In the tradition of our Catholic faith, the end of October draws our attention to the solemnity of All Saints (November 1) and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (November 2).
In the tradition of our Catholic faith, the end of October draws our attention to the solemnity of All Saints (November 1) and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (November 2). We celebrate these saints and souls who loved and worked to serve the Lord. Honoring the saints is a treasured tradition within our Catholic teachings. We recognize that Christ our Lord has given us the gift of eternal life, and we take the time to remember those who have received this gift. We remember the talents and wisdom that these men, women, and children shared with us: their love, their work, their expressions of faith, and the witness they provided that inspires us to follow their examples of faith.
On October 4 we celebrate one of my very favorite saints: St. Francis of Assisi. Francis was a lover of creation—especially animals. From him we learn one of the most important things that we, in turn, teach our students, children, and, grandchildren: All creation is a beautiful gift from God. People, animals, and all of nature are powerful and exciting gifts from the Lord and all creation deserves great care and respect. Francis of Assisi is a wonderful model of that care and respect.
This fall, consider marking St. Francis’ feast day in a special way with your group of learners. Recognize your own call to be strong protectors of all God’s creation.
Leader: Saint Francis of Assisi came from a wealthy family. As a young man, however, he recognized God’s call for us to care for one another. Francis chose to leave his wealth and live as simply as the birds of the sky who do not sow or reap—yet the heavenly Father feeds them (Matthew 6:26). Francis saw all creation—people, animals, even the stars of the sky—as his brothers and sisters sharing in God’s blessed world.
Reader: Genesis 1:20-25 (creation)
Leader:: Let’s now consider the creation God gave to you and called you to take care of. Francis of Assisi gives us a fine example of following God’s guidance in loving all creation.
Do you have petitions that you would like to present to St. Francis to ask for his assistance? (Allow time for your group to share.)
Let us pray: Saint Francis, gentle man and servant of God, you have taught us to be caring of all creation. Help us to love and respect all life around us. Be with us as we seek God’s blessing today.
We ask you, Lord, to bless all animals that are wild and free. Bless the birds and the fish, the rabbits and the deer, the lions and other beasts—big and small.
Lord, bless our pets. Bless the dogs and the cats and the birds and the reptiles. Bless our hamsters and guinea pigs, our fish and our turtles—all our pets.
Bless all the working animals. Bless dogs that work with those who live with limitations. Bless police dogs, the horses that police officers ride, and those creatures who haul heavy loads.
And bless all the wonderful animals in our zoos, our aquariums and museums.
We ask, Lord, that you help us to be like St. Francis, always seeking the blessing for our animal sisters and brothers.
We ask your blessing also on our sister/brother (name your own pets) and we ask you to help us to treat all your creation with love and respect.
Additional ideas: Consider things you can do to show care for creation and animals. Put a birdbath in your yard and keep it nice for birds. Put out old pieces of bread by a lake or creek to feed ducks. Make a chain of Cheerios® or popcorn and put it on a tree for the birds. Pet and brush your dog/cat and play with him/her.
Mary is the Pastoral Associate for Religious Education and Liturgical Education for Holy Trinity Parish in Dallas, TX. She is the author of Stories to Invite Faith Sharing (Resource Publications).
Copyright 2016, Bayard, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Bayard, Inc.