4/23/2014 10:27:19 PM

Blessing of the Animals

Thursday, October 11, 2012

By Chelsea Brumagen '13

During the College’s Family Weekend festivities, students took advantage of a chance to bring their pets to school for the annual Blessing of the Animals.

“Programs throughout the weekend help to highlight the many unique aspects and characteristics of our community, including our academic tradition, our focus on the importance of being in relation with one another and our Catholic and Franciscan identity,” said Director of Campus Programs and Student Activities John Dierna. “One such program that allowed us to invite families to gather and celebrate Francis’ love for all creation was the annual Blessing of the Animals.”

The event is the culmination of Francis Week, which consisted of academic, spiritual and community-focused programming that coincides with the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.

“He saw in all creation the love of God reflected in nature, in a beautiful day, but in particular also the animals God places in our life,” said College Chaplain Fr. Greg Jakubowicz, O.F.M., J.D. Saint Francis is the patron saint of ecology and animals.

One by one, Jakubowicz gave the pets a splash of holy water to mark their blessing. They also received a tag to put on their collars so the spirit of Saint Francis will remain with them.

For students, it was a great way to share the spirit of Siena with their family members, even those with four legs.

“I brought him to be blessed because I feel a deep belief in the Franciscan tradition,” said Jonathan Rapple ’16 as he held a plastic container that housed his blue-tongued skink, which is a lizard.

Although most people brought their dogs, Rapple wasn’t the only student who had a unique pet blessed. There was a Beta fish, a turtle, a hedgehog and even a guinea pig named Chunkers who came with Julie Gigliello ’16. She wanted to have him blessed because she loves Chunkers and he’s part of the family.

Steven Kingsley ’13 wasn’t sure what impact a blessing would have on his dog Riley. “He’s an awesome dog but he’s a little crazy, so I thought maybe blessing him would either make him more crazy or calm him down a little bit,” Kingsley said. “I love him and I want him to be blessed and have a good long life.”

Some alumni joined current students and families in having their pets blessed. Kelly (Jaegar) Egan ’07 and Tim Egan ’06 brought their new dog, Chelsea to campus for a blessing. “It’s our first year with her and we really wanted to bring her,” said Egan.

Senior Cassandra Jane Werking ’13 brought her cats Shnelly and Nelly back for a second blessing this year. “This is our favorite tradition,” Werking said. “We like to get them blessed; we like to see everybody else’s pets.” Werking added that even though her Siena career is ending, she is going to continue to bring her pets to campus for the Blessing of the Animals ceremony.


Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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