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    It is said that around the year 1200, Francis, the scion of a wealthy Italian family, gave it all up to live a life of austerity, and that when he spoke of God, even the birds stopped to listen. In the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, three Highlands communities will offer free pet blessings this coming Sunday and Monday.

    The first event will take place Sunday, October 3, at the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. This rain-or-shine blessing will include prayers for the planet, thanks for the gifts of the natural world and for our role as stewards of creation. Refreshments will be served afterward. The Center is located behind the Passionist Monastery, 1924 Newburg Road. Call 452-2749 for more information.

    If you’re busy during the day (or have a more nocturnal pet), St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church will celebrate both its patron and the parish’s 125th anniversary at 7:00 p.m. The indoor ceremony (not a Mass) will feature the music of the Steve Crews Trio. St. Francis is located at 1960 Bardstown Road; call 456-6394 for information.

    Finally, Bellarmine University will have its own outdoor animal blessing on Monday, October 4 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Quad at the center of campus. Refreshments will follow. The university is located at 2001 Newburg Road and the phone number is 452-8051.

    Although all God’s creatures (including snakes!) are welcome, all three venues request that pets be appropriately restrained via leash, cage, carrier or bowl, and that owners clean up any accompanying messes.

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