By Angelica J. Core
WESTFIELD – To honor St. Francis of Assisi and his love of animals, the Blessing of The Animals will be celebrated on Oct. 4, the Feast of St. Francis. Whether they are furry, feathered, scaly or hairy, all pets are welcome at two city churches celebrating the feast.
This feast day has been observed in the Catholic Church since 1228 A.D. to honor Francis, the Patron Saint of Italy.
St. Mary’s of Westfield will offer the blessing Sunday at the Blessed Mother patio at 1 p.m. All animals are welcomed and there is no limit to how many people or animals can attend the outdoor event. All animals should be properly restrained in a carrier or on a leash and everyone is asked to practice social distancing, including wearing a mask.
Our Lady of The Blessed Sacrament will also offer the blessing. The parish has been blessing animals on the Feast of St. Francis for 15 years.
Pastoral Minister Mary Federici said there is no pre-registration required; people can just show up. Residents who have lost a pet during the year are encouraged to bring a framed photo of their beloved pet and place it on a designated table. There is a limit of 50 to 60 household pets and their owners and the blessing will begin at 12:30 p.m.