For the third year in a row, St. Sylvester's Catholic Church in Gulf Breeze held its Blessing of the Animals event to honor St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day – day of celebration – is Oct. 4.
The event took place on church grounds Saturday, Oct. 8.
Dogs of all sizes and shapes gathered with their owners in the vestibule outside the church to receive a special blessing from Fr. John Kelley.
Pope Gregory IX named Francis a saint in 1228. He is the patron saint of animals and the environment, and many are familiar with the iconic images of St. Francis surrounded by animals.
"One story has Francis as momentarily leaving his followers to go and speak with an area of birds," said parishioner Holly Hoskamer, who volunteered to coordinate this year's blessing. "As he spoke and prayed, not one bird flew away."
For the complete story, see the Oct. 13 issue of Navarre Press or subscribe online.