Old North Church and RUFF (Responsible Urbanites for Fido) hosted Sunday’s annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony bringing all sorts of pets and humans to the Prado in Boston’s North End. The service commemorates the life of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Rev. Steve Ayers and Rev. Ellie Terry of the Old North Church, gave readings from scripture and prayers. The team from RUFF organized dog owners and provided an informational table as well as homemade treats for people and dogs.

As stories go, St. Francis of Assisi could communicate with animals. There are legends of Francis preaching to doves and crows. Stories of his rescuing a wild rabbit caught in a trap, ending with the rabbit following him for days and constantly hopping on his lap in appreciation. Perhaps the most famous story speaks of Francis taming a wolf that terrorized a village in Italy.

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Photos by Matt Conti. See high resolution images here. 

Photos by Matt Conti. See high resolution images here.