Deacon Tom Sheehan conducts a ceremony during the Blessing of the Animals near the statue of St. Francis on the grounds of the Franciscan Academy of Lourdes University.
Birds, dogs, cats, fish, and an array of stuffed animals were blessed today on the Lourdes University campus as part of the Franciscan Academy of Lourdes University celebrating the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi this week.
The blessing was held beginning at 1:15 p.m. at the St. Francis Gubbio Statue on the Lourdes' campus
St. Francis of Assisi was a man known for his love of all things created by God. He called the moon, stars, and earth his brothers and sisters. As the patron saint of the Franciscan Academy and in celebration of St. Francis, academy students, families, faculty, and staff brought their real animals and stuffed ones to the statue to be blessed by local priests and deacons, honoring the man who founded the order of Franciscan women and men more than 800 years.
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For the prayer service, the seventh-grade students had designed posters that represent nature and the love of animals expressed in the Franciscan tradition, which is highly reverenced in the academy's learning community with Lourdes University, according to information from the academy.
The academy will take part Thursday in the third annual St. Francis Day Village Celebration on the Lourdes campus. Activities include the showing of an award-winning film, Sun Come Up. In addition, the Academy will participate in the “Zero” Cheer by displaying posters representing the "Zero waste" for the day on the Franciscan Village campus. Academy students in grades 3 through 8 will go to lunch that day at the Franciscan Center to celebrate the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi with the Sisters.