Opening Words and Welcome
Good afternoon and welcome to our annual animal blessing. We take time once a year with this formal ceremony to give thanks and bless our companions in life—cats and dogs, birds and chickens, turtles and fish and so much more! This ceremony also acknowledges that our lives are made fuller and richer by the creatures that inhabit the Earth with us, not just those that live with us.
Animal blessings originate out of the Catholic tradition; however, many Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations have adopted this practice and have made it a uniquely UU type of blessing. Our seventh principle which states that we are all a part of an interconnected web of existence is the underlying motivation for many of these services.
Before we begin, let me expand your understand of the word blessing. A blessing is a wish of gratitude or happiness towards a person or animal or thing. It is for this purpose that we come together today, to acknowledge how our lives have been blessed by our animal friends and to express our happiness and gratitude that they make this so.
Remembrance of the Animals
This is a special time in our service where we can remember animals that are no longer with us. If you brought a picture of your animal friend that you no longer have with you, you may bring the pictures up and set them on the table and light a candle in memory of him or her. If you do not have a picture or memento to bring up, but would still like to remember an animal friend, you may write his or her name and years of life on the cards supplied here. Let us begin (in silence).
"We Give Thanks For The Animals" by Gary Kowalski
We give thanks for the animals
Who live close to nature,
Who remind us of the sanctities of birth and death,
Who do not trouble their lives with foreboding or grief,
Who let go each moment as it passes,
And accept each new one as it comes
With serenity and grace.
Enable us to walk in beauty as they do
At one with the turning seasons,
Welcoming the sunrise and at peace with sunset.
And as we hallow the memory of good friends now departed,
Who loved abundantly and in their time were loved,
Who freely gave us their affection and loyalty,
Let us not be anxious for tomorrow
But ask only that kindness and gratitude fill our hearts,
Day by day, into the passing years.
Blessing of the Animals
Now, it is time to celebrate and bless our animals. The Blessing will take place while we listen to our choir sing you. If you wish to join in the singing, you can find the words printed in the order. I now invite humans and their animal friends to come up. I will ask the name of your companion and then bless him or her. If you brought a picture or other item to represent your animal friend, you may also bring that forward at this time and I am happy to bless that as well.
[Name of animal], may you live a long, happy, and blessed life—may there be food in your belly, a warm place to sleep and joy in your days. [touch the animal on the head as the blessing is spoken]
[After everyone returns to their seats read:]
"Blessing for All" by L. Annie Foerster (adapted)
My furry, feathered and scaled friends, I greet you. You come from the same life force of creation that I do and I greet you as a sister (brother). May your days be filled with love and whatever else you may desire. May your tummy always be full and may you always have a place to rest. May you have many days of love with your human friends. May you play together and work together in gentleness and respect for one another…My furry, feathered and scaled friends, I say farewell. I am happy to have met you. May your life be blessed.
Go your own ways
seeking peace, sharing love and giving comfort as you go
knowing we are all connected, we are all one.
Sing: Everywhere I go I feel the oneness inside of me. (sing over and over again as people leave)