Annual blessing of pets commemorates St. Francis

SOUTH CAROLINA — Many priests and deacons held animal blessings around the state on Oct. 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.
St. Francis was born in 1181 or 1182 and died in 1226. He was the founder of the Order of Friars Minor, more commonly known as the Franciscans.
The saint is known for his love of all creatures and wrote a “Canticle to the Creatures” and a “Sermon to the Birds.” He was named patron saint of ecology by Pope John Paul II in 1979.
According to Franciscan Father Patrick Tuttle, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Greenville, St. Francis saw animals as creatures who obeyed God perfectly, even as he longed to be perfectly obedient to God.