Contact NCC News Service: 212-870-2228  |  E-mail    |  Most Recent Stories   |  NCC Home

People of Faith Celebrate the Legacy of St. Francis

Washington, October 3, 2008 -- Churches around the country will be overrun with feathers and fur Saturday, October 4, as children, families, and other congregants celebrate St. Francis Day with a Blessing of the Animals Worship Service.

“These services allow people of faith to recognize the importance of the nonhuman members of their families and their blessedness to God,” said Jordan Blevins, Assistant Director of the Eco-Justice Programs of the National Council of Churches.

The Blessing of the Animals Service on October 4 recognizes the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi, who wrote a Canticle of the Creatures, an ode to God’s living things. “All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures,” states the canticle.

“A Blessing of the Animals service reminds us of the values St. Francis held,” said Blevins. “In the Biblical story of Noah and the Ark, it is clear that God provided for the blessing of animals in the same way that God did people. There are threats to God’s Creation present in our world today, particularly regarding the well being of endangered species.”

As congregations are celebrating St. Francis Day, church leadership is working to protect endangered species against a variety of threats including the environmental waivers to the Border Fence and proposed rule changes to regulation.

According to Defenders of Wildlife, many endangered species including the Sonoran Pronghorn, the Bighorn Sheep, the Jaguar, and others, could become extinct under the border fence waivers. The proposed rule changes to the Endangered Species Act, which would change the ways impacts on species are determined, would weaken protection for endangered species according to the National Wildlife Federation.  Members of the faith community have called on Congress to stop the border fence waivers, and the National Council of Churches provided a letter to Congress encouraging stopping the proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act.

For more information on St. Francis and ways to honor his legacy, and to download the National Council of Churches new biodiversity resource, Tending the Garden visit  

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228,

Return to NCC Home Page