On Saturday, October 5, 2013, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge joined the Franciscan Friars of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Raleigh for the annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony. Parishioners brought pets of all sizes, and the younger children even brought their stuffed animals to the celebration. After hymns, prayer and Scripture readings, the Bishop and the Friars sprinkled the animals and their owners with blessed water.
According to legend, St. Francis had a special love for animals. It is said that he preached to the birds and tamed a wolf with his words. So on or near his feast day, October 4, Catholics all over the world bring animals to be blessed, as a reminder of our love for God's creation and our responsibility to be its stewards.