Rev. Anne West of Grace Episcopal Church in Stanardsville offered up blessings to the animals at the Greene County Farmers Market last weekend. The blessings are usually offered in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the Catholic patron saint of animals and ecology.
The Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi is celebrated on Oct. 4 annually and often such Blessings of the Animals are held around that time. In 1979, Pope John Paul II declared St. Francis the patron saint of ecologists—later encouraging people to embrace all creatures as members of a single family.