St. Francis inspires care for all of creation

Published: October 4, 2023

Read “Laudate Deum” (“Praise God”)

Click on the button above to read Pope Francis' new apostolic exhortation, released Oct. 4, 2023, which is a follow-up to his 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si’” (“Praise Be to You”). According to OSV News, it is a "warning that the clock is ticking on the dangers of climate change — and both a paradigm shift and practical strategies are critically needed to avert looming disasters in nature and human society."

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St. Francis of Assisi "loved, and was deeply loved for his joy, his generous self-giving, his openheartedness. He was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society and interior peace." — “Laudato Si’” (“Praise Be to You”), Pope Francis, May 24, 2015

St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), patron saint of animals and ecology, is known for his love for God's creation. In his "Canticle of the Creatures," he reveals how all creation is connected in one family under God's loving care. His feast day is celebrated Oct. 4.

In his papal encyclical, “Laudato Si’” (“Praise Be to You”), Pope Francis showed he has a lot in common with his namesake, by challenging all to care for God's creation. Read Arkansas Catholic to find 41 practical tips on protecting the environment including saving endangered animal species. Stories about St. Francis and animals include him communicating with them to express his oneness with creation. The most common stories including him preaching to birds and experiences with rabbits, fish and a wolf.

It has become common practice for Catholic parishes to host pet blessings on or near the feast the St. Francis to honor his love for animals. Visit our calendar to see a list of pet blessings being held at Catholic schools and churches in Arkansas. If your community is not listed, contact a parish near you to find out if it will offer pet blessings in your area.

To learn more, read Arkansas Catholic to discover the reason Catholics in Arkansas get their pets blessed and the impact it has on their lives.To explore this further, read Franciscan Media where Father Jim Van Vurst, OFM, addresses the question: Do animals go to heaven? For more information about St. Francis, visit the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi in San Francisco or read Our Sunday Visitor.

Prayer for Animals

The following prayer for animals is from the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Visit the website to find other prayers on the care for creation.

"Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals, your creatures. We pray especially for all that are suffering in any way: for the overworked and underfed, the hunted, lost, or hungry; for all in captivity or ill-treated, and for those that must be put to death. For those who deal with them, we ask a gentle heart of compassion, gentle hands, and kindly words. Make us all true friends to animals and worthy followers of our merciful Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen."