Blessing the Pooches & Parrots!

Last Sunday afternoon, in honor of St Francis (and if you don’t know much about him, you should avail yourself of this excellent piece), many Catholic parishes held a “blessing of the animals” outside their rectories or in parish courtyards.

I understand that long before I was born, my parents had a rather raucous parrot who would respond to these occasions with a loud “hello” and “thank you!”

This picture looks like an altogether sweeter and more solemn encounter:

Isn’t that just lovely? H/T, via

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • FJ Harris

    What a profoundly civilized people we are.
    Thank you.

  • Frances

    Wow, that Friar and the pooch sharing a moment of love and peace are gooooood medicine. Thanks. Makes me think I’m seeing St. Francis incarnate.

    Happy Feast of the Holy Rosary. Didn’t this used to be called Our Lady of Victory for the battle of Lepanto?

    Today is a good day to ask our Victorious Mother to mess up all those terrorist plans and bring them to naught.

  • Jeff

    God made dogs to show us unconditional love and loyalty.

  • Tantumblogo

    I saw some Franciscan Friar had written a post describing how pets go to Heaven. That’s a nice sentiment for the kids, but it denies that Man alone was created in God’s image and endowed with a soul. St. Thomas specifically rejects this notion of any creatures having an immortal soul and life in the Spirit. Catholics get all kinds of things blessed, and while I find a growing tendency in this culture to elevate animals to the level of personhood quite disturbing, there’s nothing wrong with it, so long as the intentions are right.

    I pray that God will bless all of you.

  • Andrew B

    I have gone back and forth for some time on the question of animals having souls. I don’t have an answer as to whether or not they will be with us in Heaven, but I wonder about a related matter. When Christ returns in glory and to restore Paradise to a renewed Earth, won’t the world be “fully stocked”?

    That gives me hope that, throughout eternity, I will not be deprived of God’s greatest creation, the basset hound.

  • Rubysue

    We held our blessing on Sunday at our Lutheran Church. I put together treats last week for the animals, closely supervised by our 15 year old cat (a marvelous pet & my dear buddy). When we got home from the wonderful event, our dear cat wanted one of the pet treats (a catnip mouse), then sat still, purring, with her eyes shut, while I read the blessing from St. Francis. Our Lutheran pastor shares my belief that humans are the fallen species needing salvation; all other marvelous life forms on Earth are gifted to us for eternity.

  • Mary

    Tantumblogo, while I agree that we get a lot of confusion about the difference between man and beast, and it is true that only man is in the image of God and a rational soul — still other interpretations than Aquinas’s are possible.

    George MacDonald seems to keep his grip, for instance, here.

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  • colagirl

    What a beautiful picture. That dog looks so much like our golden retriever who was put to sleep a couple months ago, that it brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for posting this.

  • Jeff

    The Church has made no pronouncement on whether animals live on after death. Aquinas’s opinion, on this issue, is exactly that, i.e., his opinion.

    While it is true that they do not have human souls, there is no reason to think they do not have animal souls. Scripture also provides compelling reason to believe that God does reunite us with our beloved pets. In Revelation Jesus says, “Behold, I make all things new.” All things, not some things.

  • Jeff

    And remember the passage in the New Testament where Jesus talks about how if a human father with all his weaknesses knows how to give good gifts to his children, how much more so does our heavenly Father know how to give us good gifts. I just have a hard time seeing Him stinting on dogs given his all-loving nature. As the Catechism states, God surrounds his animal creatures with “His providential care.” Does that mean my black lab only got 8 years of providential care and then was consigned to oblivion? I don’t think so.

  • anniebird

    May I just say, as the owner of a truly angelic Golden Retriever, that the sweet look of goodness on that dog’s face is no mistake! Want a wonderful dog? Go Golden.

  • Justine

    My sweet Chesapeake died on September 8. For the first couple weeks, the only thing that got me through was the hope that I’d see her again in Heaven.

    God’s in charge!

  • Mel

    I recently read a wonderful comment on another blog regarding if animals have eternal life. With my sincere apologies to the wise person who left the comment I will restate as best possible this person’s comment: “God doesn’t “un-create” anything, including angels or people who reject Him.”

    Those not sharing eternal bliss in Heaven don’t just disappear. They go on forever.

    Dogs, cats and other companion animals are created to love us and serve us. It’s hard to imagine God wouldn’t allow eternal life of some sort for them. I truly hope my dogs will meet me again in the next life. I don’t equate dogs with people and don’t imagine they have souls as we do. I firmly believe they have their own sort of soul.

    I trust God’s plan for all of this while placing my trust in Him to know what is best here and in Heaven.

  • Jeff

    I used to tell my lab in his ear that one day God would take him home to be with him and we would be apart for a while. He always got very attentive when I would say God. I think they are much smarter and know much more than we think.