Rain was pouring and the grey sky did not look promising.

Franciscan Friar Joe McKay didn’t think people would show up with their pets at the annual Blessing of the Animals held at St Francis Friary and Retreat Centre on October 9.

But some 20 dogs of different breeds turned up with their owners. “St Francis calls these animals and every other living thing his brothers and sisters because we only have one Father. So all the animals in all the creation are invited to be part of one family. We bless them each year to remind ourselves and ask for God’s grace to learn how to love our animals and pets and all of the natural world,” said Fr McKay.

At the blessing, he noted the lack of cats at the event which he considered quite fortunate. “I’m not a cat person. I once lived in a household that had four cats when I was at university. So, I can learn to live even with my enemies,” he joked.

Fr McKay said he believes our world is very similar to the one St Francis inhabited. “St Francis went out to the world to remind everyone that God is present and in our lives and we sometimes forget.

“I think St Francis would have the same mission that he had in his time today: to go out and call us to love each other as brothers and sisters. No one is really our enemy if we show that we can truly love each other.”

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