The animals at Rolling Hills Zoo will receive a special blessing this weekend.
According to the zoo, on Saturday the Rev. Robert Nelson Smith, President and CEO of Saint Francis Community Services, will perform a blessing of the animals. Father Bobby will visit, and bless, multiple animals and their keepers.
The blessings throughout the zoo will begin at 3:30 at the restaurant patio. Zoo visitors are welcome to join in on the event.
The blessing of animals in honor of St. Francis. It was developed as a direct result of St. Francis’s own understanding of the kinship shared by humans with all other creatures by virtue of having the same creator, God. Francis, who founded the Franciscan Order, was a great lover of animals and is even said to have preached to the birds about their duty to praise God. Although the specific customs about blessing animals vary from place to place, one common feature is that prayers are offered not only for the animals themselves but also for the people who care for them.
The Rev. Robert Nelson Smith has been the CEO and President of Saint Francis Community Services since July of 2014.