Sunday, October 4
Feast of Saint Francis & Blessing of the Animals
10 AM - 4 PM
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine welcomes you to a day of music, prayer, joy, blessings and fun in honor of Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment. While we cannot gather in person this year for the Service or the Outdoor Fair, we’re excited to offer an online extravaganza that will include pet blessings, children’s activities, and a behind-the-scenes look at the history of one of our most beloved days of the year!
These new videos will premiere throughout the day. Each video will be available beginning at its scheduled time and will remain available to view throughout the day.
10 am – BBC Sacred Wonders: Feast of Saint Francis 2018
In 2018, the BBC filmed the Feast of Saint Francis for Sacred Wonders, a series exploring what people do for faith in the most spectacular sacred places on the planet. This segment, pulled from the second episode, captures a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into planning our in-person Blessing of the Animals. To watch the full series, visit https://www.pbs.org/show/earths-sacred-wonders/
Major composers are featured in a voluntary ahead of the service, starting 5 to 10 minutes before. All are welcome to join us for this service of worship. The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche, Bishop of New York, will offer the sermon.
12 pm – Blessing of the Animals
Join Bishop Dietsche, Dean Daniel, and members of the Cathedral community far and wide to honor the Earth, celebrate the animal kingdom, and bless the pets we love.
1 pm – Who Really Was Saint Francis?
Christians worldwide venerate St. Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment. But how much do you know about the historical Francis of Assisi? The Rev. Canon Patrick Malloy, Sub-Dean of the Cathedral, sits down to talk with friars from the Society of Saint Francis about Saint Francis as a radical reformer and how they live out his mission today.
2 pm – A Sneak Peek at The Close as an Oasis
The Cathedral’s Close serves as an 11-acre urban oasis for humans and animals alike. The Cathedral’s peacocks are some of its most well-known inhabitants, but the Close also fosters the survival of red-tailed hawks, pigeons, and other birds of all kinds. Meet the organizations and individuals helping to care for and protect the feathered denizens of this sacred space. This short video previews a longer documentary about the animal life on the Close.
We invite you to browse these additional resources for animal lovers young and old throughout the day to deepen your understanding and engagement with the Feast of Saint Francis!
Everyone who RSVPs or sends us a memento about their pet will receive a commemorative certificate. You may also purchase a distinct commemorative charm, which can be worn by either you or your pet. Other items, including a matching bandana set, are also available.
While the Feast of St. Francis will look very different this year, our community’s needs are now even greater given the many crises we are facing. If you are able to help, please consider donating in honor of St. Francis to support the Cathedral’s urgent priorities, including: feeding people through our soup kitchen; clothing those in need through our clothing closet; and nourishing the soul through our pastoral, education, arts and music programs.
Can’t wait to “see” you there!