There were lots of cats and dogs, for sure, but also a wide variety of other animals — a turtle, a chicken rooster, hamsters, rabbits and goats — at the annual pet-blessing ceremony, celebrating the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi on Friday, Oct. 4, at the Kuemper Catholic School Holy Spirit Center playground. Father Kevin Richter, pastor of St. John Paul II Catholic Parish, and Deacon Tim Murphy, blessed the pets brought by preschoolers through third-graders. Students who couldn’t bring pets were invited to bring a favorite stuffed toy animal. Murphy noted that St. Francis is the patron saint of animals and nature and said the hope is that the pets will all have long, healthy lives. He also pointed out that St. Francis, who founded the church’s Franciscan order and lived in Italy during the late 12th and 13th centuries, is remembered for his caring for the poor. Above, prekindergartner Hayden Hunziker and his first-grade sister, Adleigh, get together with the family's 10-year-old goldendoodle, Harley.