Blessing of the Animals

Legend holds that St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the environment and animals, had a special gift for communication with all creatures great and small.

Whether true or not, the 12th-Century monk’s talents as animal whisperer will be commemorated at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church with its annual Blessing of the Animals on October 7 at 10 a.m. on the church grounds.

Island residents and visitors are invited to bring their pets, of any size and shape — dog, cat, bird, turtle — to the church’s front porch. The morning’s festivities will include a get-acquainted gathering for animal lovers, a brief, responsorial service ending with the well-known Prayer of St. Francis, and individual blessings for each pet.

St. Michael’s Rector Ellen Sloan will perform the ancient, traditional blessing, with the help of her beloved dog, Zak. Snacks will be provided for both people and pets.

For information on this and other special events at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, contact Dr. Sloan at the church, 2304 Periwinkle Way, 1-239-472-2173, saintmichaels-sanibel.org.