In what will look like a scene from the popular family movie, "Evan
Almighty", scores of Animal Chaplains around the world will bless
hundreds, perhaps thousands of animals in many different settings on
October 4th 2007. At a pet cemetery on the east coast, to a city park in
the desert, to a sandy beach on the west coast, they will walk in on a
leash, fly in on a harness, and slither in their cages. Barking, mewing,
bleating, mooing, whinnying and purring will join human voices in hymns
of praise and worship.
That day is World Animal Day, a day dedicated to honoring, blessing,
and protecting animals all over the world. World Animal Day was founded
at an ecologist's convention in Florence, Italy in 1931 as a way of
highlighting the plight of endangered species. October 4th was chosen as
World Animal Day because it is also the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi,
a Catholic Church holiday which is often celebrated with an annual
"blessing of the pets". Since then, it has grown to encompass all kinds
of animal life and has been widely celebrated around the world. Churches
and synagogues in many faiths traditions have adopted "Pet Blessing Day"
or "World Animal Day" in increasing numbers every year.
The Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains prepares for World
Animal Day by referring its members and visitors to the official World
Animal Day website. The site provides ideas and resources to
individuals, families, community groups and congregations everywhere.
People can post their pledge for volunteering at a World Animal Day
event. In addition to blessing pets, volunteers will work at animal
shelters, zoos, rescues, and other nonprofit organizations. Dogs will be
walked, cats will be brushed, horses will be groomed, and fish will
benefit from freshly cleaned tanks. Donations will be given to animal
welfare agencies, and pets will be adopted. School children will collect
pet food to be donated to charities, and bake sales and car washes will
be held as fundraising events. Veterinary clinics will hold free spay
and neuter days, or may offer to vaccinate pets at no charge. All over
the world, on the very same day, the well-being of animals will be on
the minds of millions of people.
Interfaith Chaplain Nancy Cronk feels a day honoring animals is very
important at a time when the headlines speak of animal cruelty such as
athlete Michael Vick's alleged ties to illegal dog fighting. Animal
Chaplains would like everyone to know that every major faith endorses
the responsible stewardship of the earth and all of its creatures.
"Deliberate harming of animals is in direct opposition to teachings in
all of the major world faiths. Caring for animals is our global
spiritual responsibility. If we can teach this ethic to all of our
children, animal abuse and suffering will someday become a distant
To find out how to get involved on World Animal Day, go to
www.WorldAnimalDay.org.uk. To find out more about Animal Chaplains, go
(This article may be reprinted.)
Nancy J. Cronk
Founder, Chair and Chaplain Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains
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