OCEANSIDE — Mission San Luis Rey parish celebrated St. Francis Day with pet blessings on Oct. 1.
The celebration began with a prayer at the historic koi pound located on the grounds of the Old Mission Montessori School. Then pets and their owners paraded from the pond to the mission behind a 12-foot koi banner. At the mission Father Chuck Talley and Father David Gaa blessed dogs, turtles and birds. In past years pet owners have also brought their lizards, cats and horses to be blessed.
“St. Francis is renown for his care and love for all creatures,” Wanda King, Old Mission Montessori School principal, said. “He is the patron saint of animals, ecology and the environment.”
Parishioners and pet lovers were welcome to participate in the pet blessings.
“Everybody can participate,” Gaa said. “Your pet doesn’t have to be Catholic,” he joked.
There were also pet adoptions, face painting, food and kids games at the mission and school as part of the celebration. All event proceeds went towards the purchase of classroom supplies for Old Mission Montessori School. The annual St. Francis Day celebration has been held at Mission San Luis Rey for over 15 years.