EDS celebrates Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi

Even if it was a little different this year. the long tradition of blessing the animals for the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi continued Wednesday morning at the Episcopal Day School in Brownsville, where families lined up drive-by style to have their pets blessed.

St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and the environment and fits right in with the school’s emphasis on the natural world. His feast day this year is Oct. 4. Churches and schools are holding blessings for the animals during the surrounding week.

Laurie McKim, rector of the Church of the Advent Episcopal and the EDS chaplin, blessed the animals in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit, sprinkling holy water on the pets as the cars slowly drove by in the hour before the start of in-person classes at 8:45 a.m. About half of EDS students are attending in-person classes during the coronavirs pandemic.

Hymns recorded by music teacher Anne Zufelt singing and accompanying herself on piano gave the event a religious ambiance. In other years the animals have been blessed on the lawn in front of the large cross that adorns the school’s chapel.

“Everyone looks forward to this and we wanted to keep the tradition,” Zufelt, who is in her 30th year at EDS, said. “We’ve had horses, pigs, all kinds of snakes, monkeys and macaw parrots,” she said.

A group of green jays watched over the ceremony from the utility wires above.