Virtual Blessing of the Animals Set for Saint Francis’ Feast Day, Says PETA

Local Priest Will Offer Phone Hotline Blessings to Help Keep Animals, Guardians Safe and Healthy During COVID-19 Pandemic

For Immediate Release:
September 29, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Monterey, Calif.

The Emmy Awards and education are being done virtually these days, and now, for the second year, so is the Blessing of the Animals for St. Francis of Assisi’s Feast Day, courtesy of PETA’s Christian outreach division, LAMBS—which stands for “Least Among My Brothers and Sisters” from Matthew 25:40—and Father John Dear of the Diocese of Monterey. Father Dear is offering a safe, physically distanced, and stress-free Blessing of the Animals via a pre-recorded phone blessing that’s available to animal guardians across the country. The phone number to call is 1-833-Assisi-1 (277-4741).

“Cats are particularly stressed by being carried to church, and dog fights have broken out, so recorded blessings may be the way of the future,” says PETA Vice President Daniel Paden. “LAMBS also points out that both the 1918 pandemic and the current one are widely believed to have originated in live-animal markets and U.S. farms, so extending our love to animals used for food by not eating them might just prevent the next pandemic.”

COVID-19 stemmed from confining and killing animals used for food in filthy conditions that would have appalled St. Francis, who loved all God’s creatures and embodied His mercy and compassion for all creation. But in today’s food industry, animals are denied the opportunity to satisfy every God-given instinct that’s natural and important to them. Chickens’ throats are cut while they’re still conscious, piglets are castrated without painkillers, and mother cows are separated from their beloved babies shortly after birth. Each person who goes vegan saves the lives of nearly 200 animals every year.

Father Dear is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and staff member of the Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, a Franciscan-founded organization that promotes nonviolence. He’s also the author of more than 35 books on peace and nonviolence.

LAMBS—whose motto, in a twist on PETA’s, is “Animals are not ours. They’re God’s”—holds that being made in the image of God is a call to show benevolence, not dominance and violence. For more information, please visit,, and

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