The animals praise and glorify God inasmuch as they assist man and serve him. In their own way they assist man in attaining his ultimate goal, and for that reason the Church blesses them. In her blessing the church commends these animals to St. Anthony the hermit, who from the earliest times was regarded as the patron of farmers and animal breeders. The following prayers can be used when the animals are placed in harness for the first time.
O God, our refuge and strength, the source of our devotion, hear the devout prayers of the Church, grant that what we ask in faith we may obtain in fact.
Almighty, eternal God, who didst test glorious Saint Anthony the hermit in many temptations and didst grant him to go forth untouched by the seductions of this world: grant us Thy servants to make progress in virtue by his example and to be freed from the dangers of this life by his merits and intercession.
May these animals, O Lord, receive Thy blessing; may they be sound in body and, by the intercession of Saint Anthony the hermit, may they be preserved from all evil. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Translated by Most Reverend J. H. Schlarman Bishop of Peoria
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