St. Francis Day is a very special day at Mercy Junction Justice & Peace Center.
As you probably know, if you follow Mercy Junction at all, we include “all creation” — which means our non-human, as well as our human, sisters and brothers — in all of our work from hospitality to justice to peacemaking. This means that sometimes we open our space to a dog or cat needing a safe place to stay. Sometimes our hospitality means putting down a bowl of water or giving a bag of cat food to a human caretaker who is struggling to care for the family ‘s companion animals.
It means that there are a lot of creatures around Mercy Junction — from Mr. Smeardy, our office cat, to building partners who bring their non-human family members to the center with them. Many in our congregation are vegan as an expression of their views on animal and human rights, as a commitment to peacemaking and environmental justice, and for many other reasons. At Mercy Junction events, and during our Hospitality Hours, we serve only vegan foods.
Today is St. Francis Day. This is the time of year when many faith communities hold a blessing of the animals. This year, we’re going to bless the animals all month long and we want your non-human friends to participate.
Each day in October, beginning today, we will post at least one photo in our virtual blessing of the animal. The photo will include the animal’s name, the names of the human guardian(s), a brief story about the animal and how your relationship with this animal blesses you. You can see an example with our very first Facebook post of Mr. Smeardy Cat (in the “Virtual Blessing of the Animals album), one of the non-humans who calls Mercy Junction Justice & Peace Center home.
You can send a photo of your companion animal for the virtual blessing by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or PM it to us on Facebook.
As part of our celebration of St. Francis Day, on each Sunday in October, we will have a drawing for a prize. (We have some awesome companion animal clothing, accessories, toys and treats as prizes.) Entered in the drawing will be each non-human who was posted in the Virtual Blessing of the Animals in the preceding week. The winner will be announced on our Facebook page.
Saint Francis of Assisi (1182 – 1226) is among the most popular Christian saints. You can read me about Saint Francis and why the Blessing of the Animals is part of his feast day in Mercy Junction Co-Director Beth Foster’s sermon from last year’s Saint Francis Day service at Renaissance Presbyterian Church. The sermon, “The Good News for All Creation,” can be found here.