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LA Fleet Week: Saint Francis Center

Each year, if you happen to be in New York around Oct. 4, you may catch sight of something unusual: a whole menagerie of animals being welcomed into the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, from spaniels and parrots to even the occasional camel or cow.

Since the end of the 20th century, it has become more and more common in the United States for animals and their human companions to be blessed on or around the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The focus is usually on pets, though St. John the Divine’s Episcopal service is especially spectacular, with all kinds of creatures participating in a liturgy that includes a procession into the sanctuary followed by blessings of individual animals outside.

Mary Dzon, associate professor of English, shares her research on St. Francis and other historic religious figures and their association with animals. Read the full article at The Conversation.

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Cindi King (865-974-0937,