Blessing the Animals

Joy and a bit-of-chaos sum up a Blessing of the Animals service!

Sometimes held outside, sometimes inside, with care and safety measures in place (e.g. animals kept on leash or in carrier) an animal blessing service can provide meaning and relevance for children and anyone with a pet.   Photos or soft toys (stuffed toy animals) may be brought in the place of live animals.

Blessing of the Animals often coincides with St Francis Day, 4 October.

Be sure to provide bowls of water and appropriate treats for the various animal guests.

Everyone is invited to bring their pet to this celebration of thanksgiving for pets. 

Children and youth are involved as readers.  

The service was first held at Woodland Hills Community Church, Woodland Hills, California, in September 2003. 

 

 

Opening

Bless our God, all you creatures.

Bless God in heaven and earth.

Readings

Genesis 1:23-28, 31a   (read by young person)

Psalm 104:24, 27-31   (read by young person)

Prayer

For all your creatures that breathe and move and have life.

We thank you, God.

That we may love and honour the works of your hand.

We thank you, God.

That each pet here may be treasured with care.

We thank you, God.

Music

Special music may include a recording of the song “Bless the Beasts and the Children” recorded by the Carpenters.

Blessing

When the leaders signal, please bring your pet (or pets) to one of the two blessing stations.  After the blessing, go in peace.

Person extending a blessing (holding or touching each pet):

(Name of animal), you are blessed in the name of God, our Creator, Jesus our brother, and the power of the Holy Spirit.  May God’s love strengthen you and comfort you. And may you and (owner’s name) find joy in each other’s presence and peace with God who created us all.  Amen.

Used with permission from Prayers and Patterns for worship: liturgies, music, images, and ideas for engaging worship in the United Church of Christ, 2004, USA.