1. News
  2. /
  3. Hillsborough

Tampa’s Franciscan Center hosts Blessing of the Animals

This year, World Animal Day coincides with the Feast of St. Francis, honoring the Catholic patron saint of animals and the environment.
Father Sean O'Brien blesses Baby, an English Mastiff, as his master Michelle Rybicki looks on while others wait their turn during a blessing of the animals in 2013 in Tampa. The Blessing of the Animals is a long-standing tradition at the Franciscan Center; named for St. Francis of Assisi, a 13th century Italian friar and evangelist considered one of the most popular and revered religious figures in history. [CHRIS URSO | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 3

I like to think all pets go to heaven.

I can easily imagine dogs and cats running free in celestial green pastures. My childhood tabby cat Samantha is there, eating endless tuna and purring for the angels. My old dog daisy is a pup again, chasing the wind.

Of course, I can't say for certain. I don't know if I will see my pets on the other side. I only know how important she was to me here on earth.

Samantha hung out in my Barbie house and slept on my feet as my feet grew from one size to another. She heard all my worries and dreams. When she passed away, I grieved.

Daisy was around to see me try on my wedding dress. She sniffed happily when my husband and I brought our babies home from the hospital.

Pets become like friends or even family. They are companions and comforters. They make us laugh. They keep us active. They listen without an argument.

This year, Oct. 4 marks World Animal Day. The day is more than a celebration of the furry friends we love. It is a call to action in support of animal rights and welfare worldwide.

The day, first honored in Berlin in 1925, seeks to give a voice to the 8.7 million animal species on the planet. From the elephants of Africa to the hamsters in elementary school classrooms, every animal deserves respect, World Animal Day proclaims. The day coincides with the Feast of St. Francis, honoring the Catholic patron saint of animals and the environment, St. Francis of Assisi.

On Oct. 4, the Franciscan Center, 3010 N Perry Ave., will host a Blessing of the Animals from 4 to 8 p.m. to recognize the day. People are invited to bring their leashed pets. The event will include live music with Joey Donovan and the Lint Rollers, Doga yoga with Kodawari Studios, an interfaith blessing of the animals and animal themed activities for the whole family.

For more information, call (813) 229-2695.


Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 304 Druid Hills Road, Temple Terrace, invites people and pets to a Blessing of the Animals at 11 a.m. Oct. 5. Pets must be leashed or crated. For more information, visit

Sun City Center United Methodist Church, 1210 Del Webb Blvd., will host a medical insurance seminar at 10 a.m. Oct. 8, given by Marcie Maisonet of Payant Insurance. Call the church office at (813)634-2539 to reserve a place for this seminar, sponsored by the Health Ministry Team. Light refreshments will be served in Room 30.

New Tampa Women’s Prayer Connection, meet from 9 to 10 a.m. Oct. 8 at Bob Evans, 16314 North Dale Mabry Highway. For more information, call 850-597-4803.

The New Tampa Women’s Connection will host a luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 15 luncheon at Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club, 5811 Tampa Palms Blvd. The theme is pumpkin patch. Join us for fabulous food, fellowship and fun. The event will feature the music of Kim Fleming and the inspirational story of Emma Reynolds: Rebellion, Regrets and Redemption. Make a reservation by calling Sally at (813) 972-0637 or email Becky at Admission at the door is $20.00, all inclusive. Reservations required by Oct. 8 to reserve a space.


  1. Jacob "Jake" Weinert, 28, seen here holding his son Jasper in 2018, was killed Tuesday morning when a pickup truck struck him from him behind while he was riding on U.S. 301 in Tampa, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Courtesy Izabel Sgie
    Jacob Weinert, a 28-year-old father of two, was struck by a pickup near Sligh Avenue, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
  2. Sam M. Gibbons federal courthouse in downtown Tampa. [Times photo]
    Federal prosecutors accused Roberta Guedes of aggravated identity theft and mail fraud related to the establishment of what they say were two bogus law firms. Guedes agreed to plead guilty last month.
  3. Cigar aficionado Kellan Webster, 48, from Conway, S.C., visits King Corona Cigars Bar and Cafe in Ybor City for the first time. The historic spot will now soon have a sister location at International Plaza. [Times (2017)] Tampa Bay Times
    The Ybor staple has been under new ownership since 2017.
  4. Anthony Scarpo, 58, of Tampa, owns the diamond import company Anthony Louis Ltd. and chronicles his family's legacy of lawlessness in a new book, "La Mia Famiglia." OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The family claims to have run bookmaking and betting operations in Sulphur Springs, protected from the Trafficante family by their own posse.
  5. Andrew Morrow, 67, an Army veteran, has a place to live through Operation Reveille and the Tampa-Hillsborough Homeless Coalition. Some days, Morrow said, he would wake up crying after a night on the streets. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Through Operation Reveille, advocates spend the year finding housing for Hillsborough’s homeless veterans. Their numbers have fallen since it launched in 2014.
  6. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Her Honda Accord caught fire after the crash near the North Nebraska Avenue overpass, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
  7. Kasha, Squeeks, Baz and Marshall are up for adoption at Tampa Bay area shelters. Times
    Tampa Bay shelter pets available for adoption
  8. Hillsborough County Director of Pet Resources Scott Trebatoski holds a rescue puppy as a line forms to apply to adopt one of 300 dogs rescued from a puppy mill in September. Hillsborough County
    Officials rescued more than 300 dogs from a puppy mill in September.
  9. Ikechuwku “Ike” Amadi, 38, is a dual Canadian and Nigerian citizen. He worked with a Nigeria-based criminal organization known as the Black Axe Group. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    FBI agents here linked a series of complicated financial scams to an organized crime ring that started as a fraternal organization.
  10. Tia Pittman and Stanley Peck are shown in this family photo when Pittman was pregnant with the couple's first child. Peck and Pittman were fatally shot in West Tampa on Halloween morning 2019. Courtesy Sterline Peck
    Stanley Peck and Tia Pittman were excited about making new lives in Tampa. A man arrested in their slayings also faces charges of robbery in the attack.