Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4th 2020) Service to give thanks for our pets.
Welcome to St. Paul’s Athens especially if you are here for the first time. On the Feast Day of St. Francis it is good to give thanks to God for the love, affection and companionship so many people receive from their pets. At this short service YOU are responsible for the best control of your own pet, and for any cleaning up that may be required. Don’t worry about pet noises!
There is a Thanksgiving Envelope for everyone for your church collection today, and 20% of your donation will go to an animal charity in Athens.
We are still under Government COVID 19 restrictions. Masks must be worn at all times in the church and in the garden we must keep a 1.5metre distance from each other OR wear a mask. People from the same household can sit normally together.
The presiding priest and preacher is Fr. Leonard Doolan, the Senior Anglican Priest in Greece.
Entrance Hymn: 237 Morning has broken
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1,1)
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good. (Genesis 1,31)
O Lord, you save both humans and animals (Psalm 36,6)
The righteous care for their animals, but the wicked are cruel (Proverbs 12,10)
Priest: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Priest: The Lord be with you
All: And also with you
Priest: Holy creator, we come together to thank you for the fellowship of other creatures, to celebrate their God-given lives, and to pray for compassionate hearts so we may care for them and for all your creation. But, first of all, we pray for your forgiveness because of our human part in sins of thoughtlessness and cruelty towards animal life. There will be a short period of silence.
All: Almighty God you have given us temporary lordship of your beautiful creation; but we have misused your power, turned away from our responsibility and marred your image in us.
Forgive us, true Lord, especially for our callousness and cruelty to animals. Help us to follow the way of your Son Jesus Christ, who expressed power in humility and lordship in loving service. Enable us, by your Spirit, to walk in newness of life, healing injury, avoiding wrong and making peace with all your creatures.
Priest: God of everlasting love, who is eternally forgiving; pardon and restore us, and make us one with you in your creation.
Priest: Let us rejoice with the Creator at the wonderful creation around us
All: Let us sing to the Lord a new song: a song of all the creatures of the earth
Priest: Let us rejoice in the goodness of God shown in the beauty of little things
All: Let us marvel at the little creatures who are innocent in God’s sight
Priest: Let us sing to the Lord a new song
All: A song of all the creatures of the earth
Hymn: 263 All creatures of our God and King (omit verses 5 & 6)
Reading (Isaiah 11, 6-9)
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Collect: Let us pray
Christ in all things restore our senses and give us again that experience of joy in all created things. All: Amen
Prayers led by Nelly Paraskevopoulou
Blessing of the Pets: hold up your pet if it possible, or the photograph of your pet.
May God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless these pets and protect them from cruelty and grant them a share in the redemption of the world. Amen.
Final hymn: 264 All things bright and beautiful
Blessing: God of blessings, creator of all that is, great and small, bless us with a compassionate heart that feels with you the injustices of the world and the cruelty to your creatures, help us to strive towards a peaceable kingdom in which all your creatures shall be free from pain, and live with you in all eternity; and the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you all and all that you love, now and for ever. Amen.
Thank you for being here today. Please put your thanksgiving envelope in the collection bag as you leave church. Please remember just to have a quick look to see if any cleaning is needed. Thank you.
A reading from the Fathers: St. Gregory Nazianzen:
You alone are unutterable, from the time you created all things that can be spoken of. You alone are unknowable from the time you created all things that can be known. All things cry out about you; those which speak, and those which cannot speak. All things honour you; those which think and those which cannot think. For there is one longing, one groaning, that all things have for you…All things pray to you that comprehend your plan and offer you a secret hymn. In you, the One, all things abide, and all things endlessly run to you who are the end of all.
The material used for this ‘Pet Blessing’ service is taken from the RSPCA ‘Service for Animal Welfare’ 2004.
Saturday 10th October – ‘Gift Day’ from 11.00-13.00hrs Fr. Leonard will be at the church to receive donations from individuals in thanksgiving for St. Paul’s Church. Envelopes will be available and a ‘Giving Blessing’ will be offered.
Fund raising events have now had to be cancelled because of recent COVID regulations, including the Christmas Bazaar.
However, there will be a monthly raffle with winning tickets drawn in the church and advertised on our website.