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blessing of animals
During the dinner break on the final day of the Presbyterians for Earth Care Conference, participants were treated to images of a minister in a clerical collar blessing a crawfish, a seven-person congregation that installed solar panels on its church building, a woman tending her church grounds with Earth-friendly lawn-care equipment and more.
Blessing animals on Christmas Eve or during the Christmas season is a wonderful way to capture the spirit of the Nativity.
Matthew 25 tells us to feed the hungry, provide water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and welcome the stranger. These basic tenants of Christianity aren’t limited to adults, though. Start with the children.
Inside St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church in Millvale, Pennsylvania, are more than 20 murals painted by Croatian immigrant Maxo Vanka in the late 1930s and early ’40s. Many of the paintings depict the immigrant experience in America. There is one of St. Francis, though, that shows Vanka’s love of animals, especially his fondness of birds. In the painting, exotic birds can be seen encircling the patron saint of animals.