Jan. 17, Feast of St. Anthony the Abbot and blessings of domestic animals

 

St. Anthony the Abbot was a hermit-saint in the fourth century who died in the deserts of Egypt. (Not to be confused with St. Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan saint of the thirteenth century.) Legend has it that during his periods of prayer and fasting in the desert, his only companions were the animals. An integral part of St. Anthony’s feast day is the blessing of domestic animals.

Falling as it does in mid-January, the Feast of St. Anthony is a propitious time for regeneration of the cosmos. The blessing of domestic animals on this feastday was considered auspicious, keeping away harmful forces from the home and land, bringing fertility and fecundity.

 

Blessings of Farm Animals from the RURAL LIFE PRAYERBOOK

 

A Blessing for All Domestic Animals

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

R. Who has made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray: Lord God, You are King of heaven and earth. You are the Word of the Father, and through You He has given us all created things for our support. We beg You now to consider our lowly position. Just as You have given us help in our labors and needs, so, in Your most kind mercy, bless these cattle and beasts of burden with a heavenly blessing, and guard and preserve them.

Be so kind, too, as to give us, Your servants, along with benefits that do not last, Your unfailing grace, so that we may gratefully praise and glorify Your holy name, who live and are King and God with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

R. Amen.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

R. Amen.

(Sprinkle animals with holy water.)

 

A Blessing for Horses and Other Animals

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

R. Who has made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, You tried the glorious Saint Anthony (the Hermit) with various temptations, and allowed him to pass unharmed through the storms of this world. Grant to Your servants that we may profit by his splendid example, and by his merits and intercession be freed from the dangers of this present life, through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

May these animals, Lord, receive Your blessing. Keep them sound in body, and through the intercession of Saint Anthony (the Hermit) may they be freed from every evil, through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

(Sprinkle animals with holy water.)

 

A Blessing for Animals Afflicted with Disease

(The priest wearing a surplice and a violet stole, says:)

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

R. Who has made heaven and earth.

V. Lord, do not act with us as our sins would demand.

R. Nor repay us according to the measure of our evils.

V. Men and cattle You will save, Lord.

R. According as You have multiplied Your mercy, O God.

V. You open Your hand.

R. And fill every animal with blessing.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.

R. And let my cry reach up to You.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray: God, by the means of animals You have given help to men in their labors. We humbly beg of You that these animals, without which our human wants cannot be supplied, be not lost to our use, through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

Let us pray: We humbly beg of You, Lord, in Your mercy, that in Your name and by the power of Your blessing, You cure these animals, afflicted with a serious disease. May all power of the devil that is in them be driven out. And that they be not any more afflicted by diseases, Lord, be for them a guard of their life and remedy producing health, through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord, who lives and is King and God with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

R. Amen.

Let us pray: Be so kind, Lord, as to turn away from those who are faithful to You all the scourges of punishment. Drive away the harmful disease that is raging among the animals so that, as with justice You punish those men who wander from Your paths, so with mercy You may assist them when they have amended their ways, through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

(Sprinkle animals with holy water.)

 

A Second Blessing for Animals with Disease

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

R. Who has made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray: We humbly beg of You, Lord, in Your mercy, that in Your name and by the power of Your blessing, You cure these animals, afflicted with serious disease. May all power of the devil that is in them be driven out. And that they be not any more afflicted by disease, Lord, be for them a guard of their life and a remedy producing health, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Your Son, who lives and is King and God with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

R. Amen.

(Sprinkle animals with holy water.)

 

Blessing of Poultry

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

R. Who has made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray: O God, creator of all nature, among other various types of creatures You were so kind as also to produce birds from the waters (Gen. 1:20) for the use of mankind. Of these Noah, when he came out of the ark, offered You a pleasing holocaust. And when You had led Your people out of Egypt by Moses, Your servant, You divided the clean from the unclean, and commanded that they should eat of them. We humbly beg of You to bless and sanctify the meat of these clean birds so that those who partake of it may be filled with Your abundant blessing and merit to be brought to the pastures of eternal life through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

(Sprinkle poultry with holy water.)

 

A Blessing of Bees

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

R. Who has made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray: Lord God almighty, You have created heaven and earth, and all the animals existing on the earth and in the earth and the air, that men might make use of them. You have also directed that the priests of Your holy Church should in the House of God light candles made of the work of bees while that sacred ministry is being performed in which the most holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Your Son, becomes present and is consumed.

May Your blessing come down upon these bees and these beehives. May they multiply and be fruitful and be preserved from all evils, so that the product which comes from them may be used to praise You, Your Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the most blessed Virgin Mary, through the same Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

(Sprinkle hives with holy water.)

 

Blessing of Salt or Feed for Animals

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

R. Who has made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray: Lord God, creator and preserver of all things, in Your hand rests the life of every living being and the spirit of all flesh. We pray You, hear and answer the prayers of Your faithful ones. Pour out Your blessing upon this salt (or feed) which You have made, and give it the strength of Your unseen power. May then, the animals which You have been so kind as to give us for our human needs, when they have tasted of this, be made free from every sickness and by Your protection be kept from the attacks of the evil spirit, through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

(Sprinkle with holy water.)

 

 

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