Posts Tagged ‘Blessing of the Animals’

On Thursday, October 4, 2012, St. Francis students and families will celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, our school’s patron saint.  This yearly tradition not only honors the vocation and compassion of St. Francis, but celebrates our school’s desire to live his mission of prayer and peace.


Celebration Schedule

Our Feast Day events will begin with the celebration of Mass at 9:30 am at Santa Clara de Asis Church with Fr. Joe Nettekoven as our celebrant.  All families are invited to attend.  Following Mass, all students will return to their classrooms to resume a regular morning schedule.

The “Blessing of the Animals” will take place in the afternoon followed by regular day dismissal.  At 2:00 pm, Student Council members, Principal Tom Waszak, and pastors from our three parishes will lead our community in this special celebration.  This event is open to students, parents, family guests and invited media only.  Please see below for more guidelines.


Blessing of the Animals Guidelines

St. Francis loved God and his fellow man, as well as all of God’s creatures.  For this reason, we plan to   celebrate his feast day with a “Blessing of the Animals.”  Therefore, please note:

The “Blessing of the Animals” is scheduled to take place on Thursday, October 4th from 2:00-2:30 pm.  Attendees for this special gathering should begin arriving, with or without pets, between 1:40-2:00 pm.  Please enter through the side gate and move to the athletic field area.  You do not need to obtain a visitor’s pass for this occasion.  You will be able to join your children once the ceremony is under way.

Weather permitting, we will gather on the grass area of the field, or on the black top under the lunch table shelter should there be light rain or drizzle.  Designated areas for each class will be marked, and we ask all pets be kept out of that space.

All animals must be brought to school on leashes, in cages, or other types of pet housing/containers respective to your pets.  Dogs must be on a leash no longer than six (6) feet in length with someone who is capable to control the dog.  Also, please be prepared to clean up after your pet should the occasion arise.  Should weather become a factor, we will attempt to carry out the blessings in the respective classrooms following the same schedule.

Please note that if blessings take place in the classrooms (due to rain), only live pets that can be contained in cages/terrariums will be allowed.  We must follow our preferred safety precautions.  Therefore, non-caged animals will not be permitted in the classrooms.

Students who have no pet(s) or who own a pet that is too large for transport, or may have tendencies to become nervous or agitated around other animals and/or in a crowd, may bring one small stuffed animal or a picture of a pet for a blessing.  This applies to both outdoor or indoor blessings.

Dismissal for the day will begin once the “Blessing of the Animals” is concluded.  We will follow rainy day dismissal procedures wherein all students must be picked up from their classrooms.  Students with parents in attendance must check in with their teacher before leaving campus.  PreK students in attendance must return to their classroom for usual check-out/sign-out procedures.

Please be aware that parking will be at a premium and plan accordingly.


MEDIA NOTE: Members of the media need to RSVP by calling the front office at (714) 695-3700 no later than 12:00 pm on Thursday, October 4th so that special parking arrangements and visitor passes may be prepared.  On the day of the event, attending media should check into the front office between 1:00 and 1:30 pm to receive their passes.


Please take a moment to view previous Blessing of the Animals celebrations as featured by the Orange County Register:

Click to view last year’s article


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Friday, October 2, 2009

Orange County Register

By Jessica Terrell

YORBA LINDA – Parents at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School brought their smallest family members to school today, walking dogs and carrying cats, fish, gerbils, hamsters and even starfish to campus to take part in an annual blessing of the animals.

Younger schoolchildren brought stuffed animals to be blessed.

“It’s special because we go to St. Francis School and St. Francis really loved the animals,” said eighth-grader David Ure, president of the student council. Ure’s mother had brought the family golden retriever, Rocky, dressed in an Angels jersey to give an extra blessing to the Angels for the playoffs.

Ryan Sills, 6, clutched a small plastic aquarium with a red starfish. Sills had a simple explanation for why cats were his favorite animal of the day: “Because they’re cute.”

Parents, children and pets gathered on the field before lining up to get blessed with holy water.

“(Our dogs) are so much a part of our family,” said Carmen Clark, who brought her dog, Brownie, a one-eyed part Chihuahua who was adopted from a shelter.

It was the second year that the Yorba Linda school, which has an enrollment of 474 children pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade, has held an animal blessing.

The blessing is in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment. Currently it’s mostly parents and grandparents who bring pets to the event, but the school is hoping to draw more community participation in the future.

The Diocese of Orange is having blessings Saturday at the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano and Holy Family Cathedral and St. Norbert’s Church, both in Orange, on Saturday. On Sunday morning, the Diocese will host its second annual Blessing of the Waves at the Huntington Beach Pier.

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