Pets, pet owners and students alike came together for Cabrini’s first Animal Blessing. Father Carl Janicki, director of Campus Ministry, blessed seven animals, five dogs, one cat and a snail on Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Peace Pole on the Commons.
Animal blessings are in honor of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for animals. One of the earliest legends of St. Francis involves a wolf that was feared by the townspeople. Out of respect for it, St. Francis told the people of the town that the wolf was hungry, which was the reason for him doing wrong. He forged a connection with the wolf and eased the people’s fears. The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi is always on October 4th, so the date of blessing was chosen to go along with the tradition of the Feast.
The tradition of animal blessing is still alive today. Junior English, religious studies and American studies triple major Anie Jamgochian organized Cabrini’s first animal blessing this year. Her high school did an animal blessing each year on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, which was an event she always looked forward to. When she started the Animal Lover Activists club, she had the idea of an animal blessing but thought it would be too much hassle with the club just starting up and so little time to organize it.
“Dr. [John] Burke was talking to me about how the Green Team should do an animal blessing and thought it was a great idea,” Jamgochian said. “I talked to him about how I was initially planning on doing one but gave up on the idea. I figured if I worked together with the Green Team, maybe it would be easier to figure out.”
After speaking to Janicki and Dr. Eric Malm, assistant professor of economics and business administration, Campus Ministry and Green Team paired up with the Animal Lovers Activists to plan the Animal Blessing. In total, about 25 people and seven pets showed up.
“I thought the turnout was incredible. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a very good turnout due to the fact that the event was put together so last minute. I was hoping there would be at least three pets there. After three pets were there, and more kept on coming, I couldn’t help but feel so ecstatic,” said Jamgochian
In the future, Jamgochian and Janicki would like to see the event become an annual tradition. Opening it up to the outside community, including nearby churches and animal hospitals, is one way she wants to spread the word and get more people involved.
Janicki was happy with the turnout and said he would absolutely love to make this an annual event.
“These things have a way of growing,” Janicki said
“I would love to do this event again and am definitely planning on making it an annual event. I have already spoken to my club members who were at the event about how we can make it better for next year. I am already so excited just thinking about it,” Jamgochian said.