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Feast of St Francis of Assisi in Canada

Many churches in Canada celebrate the Feast of St Francis of Assisi on October 4 each year. The feast commemorates the life of St Francis, who was born in the 12th century and is the Catholic Church’s patron saint of animals and the environment. It is a popular day for pets to be “blessed”.

Is Feast of St Francis of Assisi a Public Holiday?

Feast of St Francis of Assisi is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Stained glass portrait of St. Francis.
Stained glass portrait of St. Francis.
The feast of St Francis of Assisi is celebrated in many churches.
©iStockphoto.com/Mark Strozier

What Do People Do?

Some Canadians take their pets to be blessed at churches on the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. Some churches allow for pets and their owners to sit in the pews while waiting for their turn to be blessed. This ritual is not restricted to Catholic churches. Some Anglican churches also open their doors for pet blessings or thanksgivings on the day. Some churches hold special celebrations or events to coincide with the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.

Public Life

The Feast of St Francis of Assisi is not a nationwide public holiday in Canada.

Background

St Francis, who founded the Catholic Church’s Franciscan order, lived in Italy during the late 12th and 13th centuries. He is remembered for his generosity to the poor and his willingness to minister to the lepers. He is remembered for his love for animals and nature.  St Francis died at Portiuncula, Italy on October 4, 1226.

Pope Gregory IX pronounced St Francis a saint in 1228. The pope also laid the foundation stone for the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, Italy. The church, also known as Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi, is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Symbols

Symbols associated with St Francis of Assisi are:

  • Birds and animals.
  • A bag of gold and rich raiment at St Francis’ (of Assisi) feet.
  • A winged crucifix with five rays.
  • Stigmata.
  • A crown of thorns.
  • A lighted lamp.
  • A fiery chariot.
  • Animals such as birds, deer, and a wolf.
  • Fire.
  • A skull.

Some of these symbols are seen around the time of the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.

About Feast of St Francis of Assisi in other countries

Read more about Feast of St Francis of Assisi.

Feast of St Francis of Assisi Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010MonOct 4Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
2011TueOct 4Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
2012ThuOct 4Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
2013FriOct 4Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
2014SatOct 4Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
2015SunOct 4Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
2016TueOct 4Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
2017WedOct 4Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
2018ThuOct 4Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
2019FriOct 4Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
2020SunOct 4Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 

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