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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 9:37 am | Fair 56º

 
 
 
 

Creatures Great and Small Blessed at Bishop Garcia Diego High School

Pets and their owners attend a Blessing of the Animals, which also celebrated the installation of a plaque displaying Saint Francis' Prayer for Peace

Yelping dogs, chirping birds, and even a tortoise and hare — creatures of all shapes and sizes flocked to Bishop Garcia Diego High School on Tuesday for a Blessing of the Animals.

The Rev. Daniel Barica, pastor of Saint Barbara Parish at the Old Mission, led the student body in prayer and a song of thanksgiving for all of God’s creation in the park-like setting of the high school.

The ceremony celebrated Saint Francis of Assisi, who had a wide and loving heart for all who were poor, sick or very small. He loved animals and called them “brothers.”

Barica encouraged the student body to “be thankful to God for giving us pets who bring us joy.”

The campus quad was full of life and enthusiastic love for one’s pets.

“I loved it! We got to see aspects of people’s lives we don’t ordinarily see,” said Sister Helen Wolkerstorfer, BVM, longtime teacher and personal counselor for the school. “I also appreciated the pride and love for their pets.”

Linda Williams, an English and theology teacher at the high school, brought her puppy, Flossy, to campus for a blessing. She said she especially appreciated the community-building aspect of the event and loved it that so many people got involved.

“And they got blessed!” Williams said.

Senior student Paige Sleep added: “It was so sweet. I liked how it was just fun for the school to come together in this way.”

Included in the afternoon ceremony was the blessing of a newly installed mosaic plaque displaying Saint Francis’ Prayer for Peace. It was designed and created by art teacher Magda Barnes, installed by Peter Da Ros Masonry, and beautified with landscaping by Progressive Landscape. It shares Saint Francis’ message of hope for a world in need of peace and a reminder to the Bishop community of being called to be true instruments of that peace.

— Jennifer Winnewisser is a campus minister at Bishop Garcia Diego High School.

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