Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone was never ordained as a priest, but is revered as one of the most notable religious figures in history.

He was pronounced the patron saint of animals in the year 1228 (Saint Francis of Assisi), and because of this it is customary for churches to conduct services for animals, blessing them on the Sunday nearest to the anniversay of the death of Saint Francis on October 4, 1226.

Pets are not limited to the "woof-woof", and "meow-meow" variety either.  Birds, horses, guinea pigs and snakes have all participated in past services, and just a general reminder, that all animals should be restrained during the ceremony by leash or cage.

There is more than just a fun outing at stake, as Saint Francis always developed a bond between the animal blessings and his heart for peace.

Click here for information regarding Sunday's pet blessing.