The city’s Tenderloin neighborhood was alive with the spirit and memory of St. Francis of Assisi today on his Oct. 4 feast day with the annual Blessing of the Animals at St. Boniface Church.
Three Franciscan friars, Brother Jimmy Kernan, OFM, Brother Martín Sanabria, OFM, and BrotherJuan Guerrero OFM, stood at the gated entry to the church on Golden Gate Avenue with a bowl of holy water and green branches for the blessing. Two large dog bowls on the sidewalk flanked each side of the church’s iron gates.
At St. Boniface, located in one of the poorest sections of the city, pet owners – mostly of dogs – strode up purposely to the friars to have their faithful companions blessed. Several asked for a blessing for themselves afterward.
Seventy-one years ago today Franciscan Friar Father Alfred Boeddeker had a vision of uniting vulnerable populations in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. He opened the doors of St. Anthony’s Dining Room on Oct. 4, 1950.
As part of the 71st anniversary celebration, a new statue of St. Anthony was blessed for placement next to a statue of St. Francis in the St. Anthony dining room. Clients who came for a meal sat outside in the closed block of Golden Gate Avenue between Leavenworth and Jones Streets to enjoy music while students of nearby De Marillac Academy joined in the festive afternoon.
Full story at sfarchdiocese.org.
I hope that’s not a gay couple he’s blessing unawares.
He is blessing the doberman’s human.
Since when do religious Brothers, technically, like religious Sisters, lay persons, give blessings?
Maybe it’s okay because they’re blessing dogs in the tenderloin and not on their heads?
Are they welcome for Communion too or only brotherly blessings?
The priest at the parish I attended last Sunday told parishioners they could also bring their snakes and husbands.
Another priest said, and quickly retracted his statement, that all dogs go to heaven,
I even blessed a dog once or twice.
Tis the season.
“Every baptized person is called to be a ‘blessing’ and to bless. Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more its administration is reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priest, deacons)” (CCC 1669).
Thanks cd. But, the lay faithful are not to make the large open sign of the Cross, correct? (See the photo above.) Isn’t that reserved to clergy?
And, the sprinkling of holy water with words of blessing (like God bless you, rather than God bless us)?
(Of course, any believer can utilize holy water and other sacramentals and can even baptize in case of necessity.)
Like most parents, we should bless our children and trace the sign of the Cross on their foreheads. That’s most appropriate. But, when people are invited to the church, it seems more concerning the ecclesial life of the church (as the Catechism notes) than a private matter in the home with family (or pets, I guess).
One of the priests want to clarify this?
Priests do Blessings of the Animals at our churches, on St. Francis’ Feast Day. I also love to see mounted policemen trot up, and have their horses blessed. And it is so touching, to see blessings of service animals, such as a blind man’s precious Guide Dog.