St. Francis of Assisi is renowned in the animal world for his utter love and devotion to all living creatures. St. Francis believed that animals are our brothers and sisters in Christ; very comforting beliefs to animal lovers that wonder if they will once again be reunited with their animals after the animals cross the Rainbow Bridge.
Due to the love and devotion that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio has displayed over the years, it is quite appropriate that he chose the name Pope Francis in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. He chose this patron saint because of his love for the poor. The Roman Catholic Church will prayerfully flourish under his leadership.
The humble Pope that cooks his own meals and rides public transportation will be a positive role model to Catholics everywhere. The prayer that people in the animal world are sending up is that Pope Francis will also act as an advocate on animals’ behalf. The love for nature and animals is the second reason for our new Pope choosing his saint name.
Each year many churches, especially Roman Catholic Churches host an annual blessing of the animals in October because of the famous St. Francis of Assisi. Perhaps now our new Pope will draw more attention to the feast day and to animals in need of the public’s assistance; animals in rescues and shelters.
St. Michael Catholic Church in Wheaton, Illinois, a Roman Catholic facility participates in the Feast of St. Francis and welcomes parishioners to bring their pets to the Children’s Garden to receive the blessing of St. Francis. This is a warm and welcoming ceremony and they would gladly welcome the animals of Animal Rescue Foundation, Illinois (ARF-IL) to bring their adoptable animals over to receive the blessing as well.
Past priests, such as Fr. Don McLaughlin, have had pets. Fr. Don’s Heidi, a Beagle that he rescued, was always present for the blessing. Churches that embrace all animals fulfill the mission that they set out to accomplish. Other Catholic churches around the nation are just as accepting and loving as St. Michael and so other local shelters and rescues benefit from their openness to accept all of the creatures of the world.
Now that Pope Francis has been installed in his new role, animals may profit further. This could be the positive change that animals of our world need. Perhaps now their futures will be more secure!