I usually don’t make departures like this, but this is something everyone should see at least once in their lives.

On the first weekend in October, churches all over the place celebrate a mass in honor of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals. Everyone is welcome inside the church, with their animal companions. Cats, dogs, birds, guinea pigs, I’ve even seen horses, cows, and pigs in rural areas.

The service is short for obvious reasons (20 minutes), and afterwards the clergy assembles at blessing stations outside the church. One by one, people bring their animals to receive a personal blessing, a St. Francis medallion, and maybe a treat or two.

The fascinating aspect is that while there might be hundreds of animals of every description, there’s never a problem, an argument, a fight inside the church. I’ve seen these services many times (mostly because I want to pet the animals), and it’s always a wonderfully serene experience.

I urge you to find a church the first weekend in October and witness this amazing event. If you love animals as much as I do, you’ll be glad you did.

And don’t forget to tell everyone you know about the best fantasy fiction books around, Diego’s Dragon and Conor and the Crossworlds!


Kevin Gerard