Traditionally, a Franciscan friar called to local farms where an animal was sick, and prayed that the animal be healed. Following the prayer, he sprinkled holy water over the sick animal. Very often when visiting farms, he would bring holy water from the friary, and give it to farmers to bless their livestock. The following prayer was traditionally said by a Franciscan priest (V. usually said by a priest or deacon; R. said by the people present). I would appreciate if someone could help me to put the prayer into more modern and inclusive language:
V. Our help is in the Name of the Lord,
R. Who made heaven and earth.
V. Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins;
R. Nor according to our iniquities render unto us.
V. Thou wilt save humans and animals,
R. According to the measure Thou has multiplied Thy Mercy, O God.
V. Thou wilt open Thy Hand,
R. And Thou shall fill every animal with Thy blessing.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
V. May the Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
V. Let us pray. O God, who hast even offered unto the labours of men the solace of many animals: humbly we beg Thee; not to allow, those without whom the human condition is not nourished, to perish from our use. Through Christ Our Lord.
V. Let us pray. Humbly do we pray, O Lord, for Thy Mercy: so that this (these) animal(s), which is (are) vexed by grave infirmity, may be by Thy Name and the virtue of Thy blessing + [make sign of cross over animal(s)] healed. Extinguish in them every evil power, and let them not be sick any more. Be Thou, O Lord, for them the Defender of Life, the Remedy for Health. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God throughout all the ages of ages.
V. Let us pray. We beseech Thee, O Lord, kindly turn aside from Thy faithful all scourges: and drive away every pernicious disease that rages against this (these) animal(s): so that we who have been meritedly punished for wandering from Thee, might, being corrected, be favoured with Thy mercies. Through Christ Our Lord.
Now, sprinkle holy water upon the sick animal(s).
- St. Francis