Pets blessed at Galesburg parish, elsewhere on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi
GALESBURG — The Bishop was late. Simba ran away. Princess Anne Marie, meanwhile, was content to look regal in her red outfit.
The gathering on the grounds of Corpus Christi Parish here was not your usual prayer group. But then this was Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and the event was one of several pet blessings celebrated throughout the Diocese of Peoria to recall St. Francis’ love of animals and all creation.
Deacon Michael Crummer, who administered the blessing to about a dozen dogs and two cats at the first of two such ceremonies that day at Corpus Christi, was not surprised when the barking, meowing, and other hijinks quieted as the praying began.
“We generally do not have problems,” said Deacon Crummer, who has overseen the blessing of the animals in Galesburg since his ordination to the permanent diaconate in 2012. “I always say even the animals can sense that something different, something holy is going on.”
Among the dogs present was one of Deacon Crummer’s two German Shepherds, brought by his wife Janice. The Crummers also have two horses.
The ceremony opened with a moment of silence in memory of “all of our individual lost pets during our lifetime.” As he made his way from pet to pet, Deacon Crummer prayed that both the guardian and their pet “enjoy life together and find joy with the God who created you.”
In a closing prayer, he asked that St. Francis — who considered God’s creatures his brothers and sisters — “help us to follow your example of treating every living thing with kindness.”
And the Bishop? He is a Chihuahua mix adopted by Janet Kahle. Originally named Pedro, his name was changed to Bishop at the suggestion of a Corpus Christi parishioner who told Kahle that Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, has Chihuahuas named Monsignor and Vicar. Kahle has since told Bishop Jenky of his namesake.
“Is he messy?” she recalls Bishop Jenky asking. “Is he a good boy? That’s me all right.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: More photos from the pet blessing have been posted to The Catholic Post’s site on Facebook.