Service of Covenant and Blessing With Animal Companions
(Adapted by Rev. Francesca Fortunato from Animal Rites by Andrew Linzey)
The animal is brought to the front of the church and the Officiant asks these questions of his/her human companion.
Officiant: What name do you give to this creature?
Companion: (says the animal's name)
Officiant: Will you care for ___as God's own beloved creature?
Companion: I will, with God's grace.
Officiant: Will you be mindful of ___'s Christ-like vulnerability?
Companion: I will be so mindful.
Officiant: Will you love and protect___ so long as s/he lives?
Companion: I will with God's grace.
Officiant: Will you be faithful and kind to ____ in good times and bad?
Companion: I promise to be so faithful.
The human companion is invited to touch/pat the animal as a sign of the covenant affirmed between them.
Officiant: May the God of the new covenant of Jesus Christ grant you grace to fulfil your promise and to show mercy to other creatures as God has shown mercy to you. Amen.
Reading: (Choose one that reflects the sacred trust between humans and animals, from scripture and/or other works, such as the writings of Francis of Assisi).
All Present: Eternal God, we thank you for these creatures who live alongside us as companions and friends; for their loyalty, love and trust that enrich our lives, give us joy and teach us the value of kindness, the power of mercy, the strength of gentleness. We ask that You create in us a new spirit of humility in the face of your creatures, who, along with us, live and die in Your covenant. We ask these prayers through your Son Jesus Christ, whose new covenant of love gives life to all beings. Amen.
Blessings for the animal and human companion:
For the animal: Creator God, your mercies are over all the earth; bless this creature ___ and help us to delight in all the works of your hands. Amen.
For the animal and companion together: May this creature ___ be a blessing to ___ and may ____ be a blessing to him/her. In the name of the One who blesses all and makes us all to bless each other. Amen.