GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Local Five News was at St. Joesph’s Church Thursday evening where dozens gathered in the parking lot to mark the feast day of Saint Francis who is the Patron Saint of the environment and animals.

Although mostly dogs showed up, the deacon blessed a couple of gerbils, too.

“People come together and bring their pets to be blessed,” said Deacon Jerry Coenen. “We bless the people along with their pets, and it reminds them of God’s great gift of the animals to us.”

The deacon used to train dogs when he was in the Air Force so he feels a special connection to this day and suggested that if you can’t get your pet blessed, just give them a big hug.

According to Britannica, Francis founded the Franciscan orders of the Friars Minor (Ordo Fratrum Minorum), the women’s Order of St. Clare (the Poor Clares), and the lay Third Order. He was also a leader of the movement of evangelical poverty in the early 13th century. His evangelical zeal, consecration to poverty, charity, and personal charisma drew thousands of followers. Francis’s devotion to the human Jesus and his desire to follow Jesus’ example reflected and reinforced important developments in medieval spirituality.

Francis considered all nature as the mirror of God and as so many steps to God. He called all creatures his “brothers” and “sisters,” and, in the most endearing stories about him, preached to the birds and persuaded a wolf to stop attacking the people of the town of Gubbio and their livestock if the townspeople agreed to feed the wolf.

Prince of Peace Church has a pet blessing scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. in the parking lot at 3425 Willow Road in Green Bay.

There will also be photos with pets for pick up later at church and treats for humans and pets.

Please contact Prince of Peace with any questions: (920) 468-5718.