If you've been to church recently, you may have seen a few more animals in the pews than usual. Well - there's a good reason for that: Many priests and pastors have opened up their doors for an annual ceremony known as The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Otherwise, knows, as The Blessing of the Animals.
"We’ll have a little service, then we'll have a little prayer, then we'll go through and do a blessing prayer and then I’ll go through with holy water and actually sprinkle the animals - which can be interesting at times."
Now St. Francis was a friar, deacon, and preacher; a triple threat. He was, however, a lover of all God's creatures, hence his nickname Saint of the Animals.
"St. Francis, which is actually my saint for confirmation, I’m just fascinated with the way he is with animals and how he talked to birds which is probably why I’ve always had birds growing up. I love birds and playing with them and talking to them and this first actual like parrot to actually come get blessed."
The service is usually held on or around October the 4th at churches around the world to bless animals of all different shapes and sizes.
"We’ve had sheep in the past; I think one year we actually had a donkey come on. This year we had a bird and we have dogs and cats and we've had snakes. And people just love to bring their animals to kind of show and get God’s blessing for them as well."