Albert, a doberman pinscher, receives a blessing from Monsignor Marc Caron in 2015. This year’s blessing of the animals is today (Oct. 4) at 4:30 p.m. at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

LEWISTON — Animal lovers are invited to flock to the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul today (Oct. 4) to have their animal companions blessed in celebration of Saint Francis of Assisi Feast Day.

All pets are welcome to attend the Blessing of the Animals, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in front of the basilica at 122 Ash St., according to a press release from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

As prayers are offered, the pets will be gently sprinkled with holy water.

Saint Francis of Assisi was known for his love of all creatures. The blessing of the animals remembers Francis’ love by invoking God’s blessing on the animals, and thanking God for letting us share the earth, according to the diocese. The blessing also recognizes the important place that pets hold in people’s hearts.

Blessing of the animals are being held in several towns and cities throughout Maine during the first week of October, including Orono, Biddeford, Portland, Augusta and Gorham.

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