Animals are frequently mentioned throughout scripture. As example:

Proverbs 12:10, "The righteous man regards the life of his beast." Genesis 9, after the flood, it is mentioned five times that "I will make a covenant with you and with all living creatures."

Deuteronomy 22 and Exodus 23, "If you see an animal that is overburdened, you should lighten its load to help it."

Job 12: 7-10, "Ask the birds, ask the beasts and they will teach you."

Saint Frances Patron of Animals so loved the animals we remember him as a friend and protector to them. Legends have left up with idyllic pictures of how beasts and birds were susceptible to the charm of St. Francis' gentle ways, how they entered companion with him and often felt protected by him. It is said birds listened so reverently to his sermon along the road near Bevagna Francis chided himself for not having thought to preach to them before. He also found great delight and solace in simple things such as the rising sun or flowers, all aspects of nature.

One of the earliest legends of St. Francis speaks of a fierce wolf near the town of Gubbio who was eating animals and humans because he was starving. The entire town was afraid to go outside the town walls until St. Francis--convincing the people the wolf's hunger was what caused him to do wrong--met with the wolf, blessed it and is reported to have said, " Brother Wolf, you have done great harm to this region, not only destroying other creatures without mercy, but you even have the brazenness to kill and devour human beings made in the image of God. You deserve severe punishment; but I want to make peace between you and the town, so that they will not be harmed by you anymore and after they have forgiven you, neither men or dogs will pursue you any more." The wolf indicated it would accept these terms, and offered his paw as a sign. St. Francis of the animals said, "I promise that the town will feed you every day; I know that what you did, you did out of hunger." The town promised to do what the saint had bargained, and having adopted the wolf, and fed him until the day he died. (Story compiled from 'the Little Flowers of St, Francis of Assisi, the website of the Franciscan Friars and Catholic Encyclopedia)



The Little Flowers of St. Francis by Brother Ugolino is a collection of many stories and legends of the life of St. Francis. This is a sample of St. Francis sermon to the birds:"My little sisters the birds, ye owe much to God, your Creator, and ye ought to sing his praise at all times and in all places, because he has given you liberty to fly about into all places; and though ye neither spin nor sew, he has given you a twofold and a threefold clothing for yourselves and for your offspring. Two of all your species he sent into the Ark with Noah that you might not be lost to the world; besides which, he feeds you, though ye neither sow nor reap. He has given you fountains and rivers to quench your thirst, mountains and valleys in which to take refuge, and trees in which to build your nests; so that your Creator loves you much, having thus favored you with such bounties. Beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praise to God." St. Francis-c 1220

On October 4 St. Francis Feast Day in many parishes animals and pets are blessed as groups and as individuals.


The Roman Ritual - The Book of Blessings Approved for use in the Dioceses of the United States of America by the Conference of Catholic Bishops and confirmed by the Apostolic See. 942 According to the providence of the Creator, many animals have a certain role to play in human existence by helping with work or providing food and clothing. Thus when the occasion arises, for example, the feast of some saint, the custom of invoking God's blessing on animals may be continued.

Order of Blessing
Introductory Rites

Leader: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


Leader: May God who is wonderful in all his works, be with you all.

Leader: 949 - The animals of God's creation inhabit the skies, the earth, and the sea. They share in the fortunes of human existence and have part in human life. God who confers his gifts on all living things, has often used the service of animals or made them symbolic reminders of the gifts of salvation.

Animals were saved from the flood and afterwards made a part of the covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:9-10). The paschal lamb brings to mind the Passover sacrifice and the deliverance from the bondage of Egypt (Exodus 12:3-14); a giant fish saved Jonah (Jonah 2:1-11); ravens brought bread to Elijah (1Kings 17:6); animals were included in the repentance enjoined on humans (Jonah 3:7). And animals share in Christ's redemption of all of God's creation. We therefore invoke the divine blessing on these animals through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi. As we do let us praise the Creator and thank him for setting us over other creatures of the earth. Let us also ask him that, remembering our human dignity, we may walk always in his law.
Psalm 8

O Lord our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth.

O Lord, our Lord,
how glorious is you name over all the earth!
You have exalted your majesty above the heavens.

O Lord our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you set in place - 
What is man that you should be mindful of him
or the son of man that you should care for him?

O Lord our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet:
All sheep and oxen
yes, and the beasts of the field.

O Lord our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth.
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.

O Lord our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth.

St. Francis of Assisi Blessing

O God, the author and giver of every gift,
animals also are a part of the way you provide help
for our needs and labors.
We pray through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi,
that you will make available for our use
the things we need to maintain a decent human life.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Individual Blessing of the Animals (pets)

After the prayer of blessing, as circumstances suggest, 
the minister may sprinkle those present and the animals with holy water.

"N.(name of animal, i.e. "Smokey", not cat/dog) may you be blessed in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. May you and N. (the name of the guardian) enjoy life together and find joy with the God who created you." 
Concluding Rite
May God, who created the animals of this earth as a help to us,
continue to protect and sustain us with the grace his blessing brings,
now and forever.
It is preferable to end the celebration with a suitable song.


Good St. Francis, you loved all of God's creatures.
To you they were your brothers and sisters.
Help us to follow your example
of treating every living thing with kindness.
St. Francis, Patron Saint of animals,
watch over my pet
and keep my companion safe and healthy.

Saint Francis' Canticle of All Creatures

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.

Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather's moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.

Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,
So useful, humble, precious and pure.

Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,
Mother Earth who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon
for love of You and bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace,
By You Most High, they will be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm.

Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.