Pets blessed at St. Francis service

LIHU‘E — “Howl-lelujah,” the Rev. William Miller said, welcoming people to the Blessing of the Animals on Sunday at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Lihu‘e.

Done in celebration of St. Francis of Assisi, more than 100 assorted animals took advantage of being blessed by Miller and the Rev. Malcolm Miner who will be celebrating his 91st birthday, Nov. 15.

“Last year, we had more than a hundred dogs,” Miner said. “It’s a bit of holy chaos, but I get to sit in a chair and people file past. Rev. Bill moves through the people.”

With canines forming the majority of animals being blessed, there was also a goat, a lamb, two piglets, rabbits and felines among the menagerie making its way through the line celebrating the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, normally celebrated Oct. 4.

In addition to the blessing of the animals, there was a special memory board to remember pets who died.

“We remember this day our beloved pets who have passed on from this earthly life,” Miller said. “Though there is sadness in our hearts, we also celebrate our time with them.”

Miller is described as a “Texawaiian author” of “The Gospel According to Sam.”

St. Francis of Assisi, a Roman Catholic priest and the patron saint of animals and the environment, founded the Franciscan Order, states the American Catholic website.

The bond between person and pet is like no other relationship because the communication between fellow creatures is at its most basic, according to Kevin Mackin, a Franciscan of the Holy Name Province. Church is the place where the bond of creation is celebrated.

Following the unusual parade of animals waiting for blessing by Miller and Miner, guests were treated to a special hot dog reception with live music by “The Band,” cold beverages and a petting zoo.

Guests were also treated to an Animal Blessing Certificate and a goody bag for pets.

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