Today is the Christian feast of St. Francis. Founder of the Franciscan order of priests, he is also the patron saint of animals. His love of animals and the natural world has inspired many Christian churches to hold special pet blessings.
The celebration of World Animal Day is held today as well but it is actually a secularization of the Feast of St. Francis. Francis was a man ahead of his time, being an environmentalist and animal activist in the late 12th to earlier 13th century when such notions were unheard of. Along with his love of animals Francis tended to the poor, particularly lepers and the homeless. Today, in honour of St. Francis, do something to help people and animals in your community.