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St. Francis’ Feast Day and the Things We Can Learn from Cats and Dogs


Here at Holy Comforter-St Cyprian Parish in Washington, D.C., we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi with the blessing of the animals. Although most folks bring dogs to be blessed, there are usually some who bring cats and a few other animals like ferrets. Once, someone even brought a snake!

Over the years, I have shared with the dog owners a list of “Things we can learn from dogs.” When I was growing up, we always had a dog, so although I did not personally compose the list below, I can vouch for its accuracy.

But over my years of city living I have grown accustomed to having cats (they are great mousers in old rectories). So I set my thoughts toward composing a similar list of what I have learned from cats. They are such independent and self-assured animals! They really let you know who’s boss, but mitigate their arrogance somewhat with clownish play and affectionate “head-butts.”

God speaks to us in all of creation, including our pets, to whom we are often so close. What is God saying? Many things!

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