By the Rev. Julia Mitchener
Today, October 4, is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. While Francis is best known for his love of nature, he was also a champion of the poor, the founder of one of the world’s great religious orders, and the creator of the first Christmas creche.
We will remember St. Francis at the Cathedral on Sunday morning with our annual Blessing of the Animals. In the meantime, here are some ideas for celebrating with children throughout the weekend:
- Take a technology break and get outside to “consider the lilies of the field.” Visit a local nature center, farm, or the Botanical Gardens.
- Go for a walk in the woods and gather objects that catch your eye. When you get back, create a “home altar” by spreading a cloth on a desk, dresser, or counter. Place your treasures from nature on top, along with a small vase of flowers, a cross or icon, and some battery operated votive candles.
- Francis was known for giving his clothing to the poor. Ask family members to go through closets and collect items that are no longer being worn. Take pieces in good condition to a donation center to help those in need.
- Francis is said to have preached to the birds. Make a bird house or paint a preassembled one from a craft store. When you put it outside, have a brief “house blessing” by singing a favorite hymn or song and praying for all flying creatures.
- Eat some almonds! These were apparently one of Francis’ favorite foods.
- Set up a lemonade stand and give proceeds to Buckhead Christian Ministries or a local animal shelter.
A blessed St. Francis’ Day to all!