The friars at Brookland’s Franciscan Monastery conducted a Blessing of the Animals today in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. The annual event is popular; we estimate that there could have been over 60 animals in attendance, and TV crews from Channel 4 (NBC) and 5 (Fox) were there and broadcasted stories about it on their 5:00 pm programs. The friars gave a brief ecumenical service, did a general blessing of all pets in the crowd and then did individual blessings afterward. There were all kinds of pets – even a parakeet and turtles. The largest pet was probably a big St. Bernard. All pets were given a blessing certificate and a dog tag that reads “Francis of Assisi Protect My Pet”. I spoke with one particular attendee who brought two dogs and wasn’t sure what to expect as a “non-religious person”. She was very touched by the event because of the personal attention given each animal, how welcoming the friars were to one and all, and how there was no mention of donations. The monastery is located at 1400 Quincy Street, NE.