Published on: Wednesday, October 11, 2023

This week’s Wednesday weekly Eucharist was in honour of St Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of animals and the environment.

The service has become a tradition at King's, with the whole school community bringing all manner of pets to be blessed. The aisles in the Chapel were full to bursting when dogs (all shapes and sizes and ages), guinea pigs, tortoises and tarantulas being brought along to be blessed. Those who are not able to bring their pets bring a photograph (or stuffed toy) to hold up.

Alongside the usual crowd, this year, we were honoured by the presence of Sam and Troy from our Equestrian Centre, tarantulas Martha and Melody - plus Rocky and Rambo, our two pygmy goats that reside on our Mini-Farm at King's. Like all the other animals, they too received a blessing from Father Mark Smith.

Father Mark, who follows the order of St Francis (TSSF) and the Chaplain at King’s said: “It is always a wonderful, happy service. Our whole community is buzzing with joy. It has become quite the annual event and we have received so much positive feedback since we began holding it.

“I started celebrating St Francis Day here at King's College in 2010. I asked pupils to send me photos of their pets, which I put onto the big screen. We then took the plunge in 2012 when I invited the whole school community to bring their pets into Chapel for a ‘live’ service!"

You can listen to Father Mark speak about our Mini-Farm, pygmy goats and our St Francis Service on BBC Radio Somerset (1hr 52mins).

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