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Blessing of the Animals

We have our annual Blessing of the Animals in October each year. In addition to decorating the parish hall, undercroft, entryways and sanctuary with stuffed and inflatable animals, we have a musical parishioner dress up as St. Francis for Children's Liturgy. We read a story about St. Francis' life using the overhead projector and St. Francis "tells" the story. We always sing a fun song about animals when we return to the main liturgy at the Peace, but I'm looking for a new one this year. Haven't found anything good online or in the books I have. Does anyone have a good/fun/cute song about animals (& God)that you use? Thanks. Sue V.

Original Post

"All God's Creatures Got a Place in the Choir"

There is a wonderful song called "All God's Creatures Got a Place in the Choir" but I am not sure where to find it. You may have some success with a Google search?

One of my personal favorites is "All Things Bright and Beautiful" which can be found in most hymnals.

You may also want to think about doing Canticle of the Sun or Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace- both related to St. Francis but not necessarily animal related.

Do you have live animals come to be blessed?

I love your idea about incorporating the story of St. Francis etc.
Have you ever considered going one step further and having a special offering that would go to a local animal rescue or humane society? Or perhaps having a representative from one of those organizations come to talk with the children in Sunday School?
Another way to broaden the scope is to see if a local police dept. might have a K-9 officer that could come, or perhaps someone with a trained seeing eye or therapy dog?

Blessings
Jan Snell

Sorry, I should have clarified my criteria for "songs." The youth choirs are singing Make Me a Channel of Your Peace, and the adult choirs will sing one of the other pieces attributed to St. Francis. All Things Bright and Beautiful is sung every year outside in our playground just before and after we bless our (live) animals. I am not looking for a hymn, but a contemporary (or not so contemporary) "song" with actions or movements or dance moves for the youngest children of the congregation to sing up at the altar for the rest of the congregation. We'll all be donning animal masks and will have our resident "rock and roller" dressed as St. Francis to lead us in song. We're looking for pep and joy and humor or at least excitement. Thanks for your ideas.
I think Jan's song is "All God's Critters Got a Place in the Choir" and it is a fun song. The original had a kind of hillbilly twang to it -- at least the one I remember. It's tough to have a group of people sing the verses because there's a lot of fast words, but you could have your rocker sing the verses and everyone sing the chorus.

Peace,
Lisa
I never got back to this site to update on what we did, so here goes.
We did use All God's Critter's Got a Place in the Choir and I find a great mp3 version of it online. You can hear Bill Staines singing it himself. We had our rocker musician do it dressed as St. Francis while the kids and congregation sang the chorus. It was hard, but fun. I think we'll go back to I Like Ants for this year. Will be happy to send anyone the files for the words or MP3 of the Critter's song. The I Like Ants song is great. Have a cd of that by John Farrell - more info on request. (Tried to upload the words as attachment, but site wouldn't let me.)

Moved here to consolidate topic...

mabethea
Posted August 08, 2005

We always have a well attended Blessing of the Animals near the birthday of St. Francis (October 4). This year I would like to have a Family Night event that would include the blessing of our pets. Any ideas?


Lisa M.
Posted August 10, 2005

mabethea,
Are you planning to have pets present? Speaking as the owner of a generally well behaved and loving dog with strong natural instincts to attack rabbits -- Aargh! Maybe separate times for dogs, cats and other? And of course cages and leashes. How about bringing in ONE pet and empowering families with a liturgy they can take home and bless their pets with?

Activity ideas:
Baking homemade dog biscuits
Genesis 2 game. Children act like different animals and Adam blesses (guesses) what they are.
Make a dog/cat toy or chew apart cardboard house for hamsters/gerbils/guinnea pigs; or make picture frames for our pets.
Don't forget to include something for the child who can't have or doesn't have pets.
For storytelling/video something on ecology/environment and endangered species. Blessing for endangered species. Or you could get out an old Lassie story of the dog helping Timmy. Or the first "Babe" movie.
Peace,
Lisa

We're also changing our structure for St. Francis Day this year and are doing an evening event that will include the Blessing of Animals in our Sanctuary - not outside as we have done in the past. Anyone else ever done this? I figured we couldn't do any other activities since the animals would be "antsy" and need to go home immediately afterwards. How will you handle that? I'd love to hear more about your activities.
This will be my sixth year of having a Blessing of the Animals inside the church. So far, we've only had one mishap (a spilled goldfish bowl) that involved the pets. We haven't even had any accidents....we chalk it up to God smiling on the event. It's been a great outreach for us and generates a bit of publicity each year too....so I would say go for it.
We've done a Blessing of the Pets for the last couple of years and it's been great. No problems between animals or their humans. Small animals and cats stay in their cages, dogs stay on their leashes and everyone is happy. We keep the liturgy very short and at the end we have a table set up on our front lawn with desserts and lemonade for the humans and cat and dog treats and bowls of water for the pets, so we get to hang out and fellowship. It's a great thing for people to bring friends to and a fun way to see folks with their "other" family members.

I love the offering idea, we'll add that this year.

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LindaSMN
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