On the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, earlier this month, many churches held blessings of real animals, which were inspired by St. Francis's own love for all earth's creatures. Yesterday I heard a report by Charles Lane on NPR, about a church in Patchogue Long Island which, in honor of the Feast, held a blessing for stuffed animals.
One of the congregants, an elderly gentleman whose wife had dementia, brought with him to church a teddy bear which was given to his wife. It kept her company in the nursing home. For him that bear was representative of the vow which he made to his wife of 58 years: “in sickness and in health.”
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