Many churches in Canada celebrate the Feast of St Francis of Assisi on October 4 each year. The feast commemorates the life of St Francis, who was born in the 12th century and is the Catholic Church’s patron saint of animals and the environment. It is a popular day for pets to be “blessed”.
Is Feast of St Francis of Assisi a Public Holiday?
The feast of St Francis of Assisi is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.
What Do People Do?
Some Canadians take their pets to be blessed at churches on the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. Some churches allow for pets and their owners to sit in the pews while waiting for their turn to be blessed. This ritual is not restricted to Catholic churches. Some Anglican churches also open their doors for pet blessings or thanksgiving on the day. Some churches hold special celebrations or events to coincide with the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.
The Feast of St Francis of Assisi is not a nationwide public holiday in Canada.
St Francis, who founded the Catholic Church’s Franciscan order, lived in Italy during the late 12th and 13th centuries. He is remembered for his generosity to the poor and his willingness to minister to the lepers. He is remembered for his love for animals and nature. St Francis died at Portiuncula, Italy on October 4, 1226.
Pope Gregory IX pronounced St Francis a saint in 1228. The pope also laid the foundation stone for the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, Italy. The church, also known as the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Symbols associated with St Francis of Assisi are:
- Birds and animals.
- A bag of gold and rich raiment at St Francis’ (of Assisi) feet.
- A winged crucifix with five rays.
- A crown of thorns.
- A lighted lamp.
- A fiery chariot.
- Animals such as birds, deer, and a wolf.
- A skull.
Some of these symbols are seen around the time of the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.