An Order for the Blessing of Animals
(from Benedicite, omnia opera Domini)
The Collect of the Day
Most high, omnipotent, good Lord: Grant unto thy people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of thee delight in thy whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky." So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
--Genesis 1:20-25 (NRSV)
Not only do the animals of God's creation inhabit the skies, the earth, and the sea, they share in the fortunes of the human race and play important roles in everyday life. Animals also appear throughout the Bible as participants in the story of salvation and as reminders of Godís love for us and for all of creation. In the story of creation, it took two days for God to create all of the animals and, when God destroyed the world by flood, he took special care to save the animals along with Noah and his family on the Ark. The paschal lamb is the sign of the deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt and also the type of Jesus Christ himself who saves all humankind from bondage to sin. A whale saved Jonah from drowning; ravens brought bread to Elijah; a little dog accompanied Tobias on his journey and a fish provided him with healing and protection; and a humble donkey carried Jesus into Jerusalem as a sign of his kingship over the whole world. Throughout history, as a sign of the fact that animals share in Christ's redemption of all of God's creation, animals have been the friends of Godís people. St. Francis of Assisi even preached to the birds and tamed a wolf that had been terrorizing the people of Gubbio. Therefore we pray for all animals and, invoking the intercession of St. Francis and all of the saints, we ask Godís blessing on these animals which are our companions. As we do, let us praise our Creator and pray for the grace to honor and care for the world which he has given into our care.
(Adapted from The Roman Ritual - The Book of Blessings)
A Litany for God's Creatures
God the Son, Lamb of God,
God the Holy Spirit, descending like a dove,
Holy Trinity, One God, the true Life of all,
Holy Mary, who
cradled her Son in the manger of the ox and the ass,
Holy David, shepherd
Holy Elijah, fed by
Holy Jonah, rescued
by a whale,
Holy Peter, called
to repentance by a rooster,
Holy Andrew, the
Holy Paul, spared
from the sting of the asp,
Holy Jerome, who
tamed a lion,
beholding his Lord in a vision borne by a stag,
Holy George, saintly
horseman and slayer of the dragon,
Holy Brigid of
Kildare, patroness of cattle,
Holy Sergius of
Radonezh, befriended by a bear,
Holy Martin of
Tours, called to do God's will by the honking of a goose,
Holy Bernard of
Menthon, whose dogs rescue the lost in the alpine passes,
Holy Julian of
Norwich, whose companion was a cat,
Holy Francis of
Assisi, who preached to the birds and tamed the wolf of Gubbio,
All holy friends of
all that live in earth, and sea, and sky,
For the good earth which God has given us, and for the wisdom and will to conserve it,
and for peace, health, happiness, justice, and good will among all its
creatures, let us pray to the Lord.
For grateful hearts and gentle hands and for a spirit of respect and wonder for the animals entrusted to our care, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For Godís blessing on the animals who give us their loyal companionship and continually remind us of Godís unconditional love for us and all creation, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, eternal King, for making every creature that liveth in earth and sea and sky. Blessed art thou for thy servant Francis who called them all his brothers and sisters. By the power of thy love, enable every creature to live according to thy plan. May all thy works for ever praise thee, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
(Adapted from various sources, including the Monks of New Skete, AmericanCatholic.org,, and the Book of Common Prayer )
[Name], I bless you in the Name
of the Holy and Undivided Trinity who made us all. May you be healthy and
live in harmony with all God's creatures. Amen.