Virginia Intermont College will host a “Blessing of the Animals” on Weds., Oct. 9 to commemorate the Feast of Saint Francis, the Patron Saint of animals and the environment. Rev. Christina Patterson, College chaplain, will officiate with two short biblical readings and a blessing. The short ceremony begins at 12:15 p.m. in the Quad. The VI community and the public are invited to bring their furry, feathered or scaly friends.
“This is our second year of the tradition on campus, but the blessing of animals is an ancient practice of the church and remains popular among liturgical congregations such as the Catholic, Episcopal and Lutheran churches,” said Patterson. “It is a tradition of Christians honoring the gifts in our lives and celebrating God’s creatures who serve as companions and friends to us. This event is part of VI’s quest to affirm all faiths and to introduce students to different expressions of those faiths.”
Patterson also noted that the new Pope admires Saint Francis so much that he took his name when he became Pope. “Pope Francis says he admires Saint Francis because he spent his life advocating for the poor and for animals.”
Last year, VI’s Blessing of the Animals drew many canines and a few felines among pet owners from the College community. Some students even served as surrogate handlers for the pets of friends and faculty who couldn’t attend. Everyone enjoyed the chorus of barks and meows as some pets stayed with their owners throughout the day.
This year’s event is sure to make for another engaging and festive day with our furry friends on campus. Everyone is invited and those without pets are welcome to come out and watch.