Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Laika *


Dear God, you have given us care over all living things; protect and bless the animals who give us companionship and delight, make us their true friends and worthy companions. Amen.

Saint Laika, our little lady, pray for us. Amen.


O God, your creatures fill the earth
with wonder and delight,
and every living thing has worth
and beauty in your sight.
So playful dolphins dance and swim;
your sheep bow down and graze.
Your songbirds share a morning hymn
to offer you their praise.

You made the pets we welcome in,
they are wondrous blessings, too.
With paws and whiskers, wings and fins,
they offer praise to you.
O Lord, you call us to embrace
these creatures in our care.
May we show kindness, love and grace
to all pets everywhere.

You made the creatures on each farm;
you know the things they need.
May they grow healthy, safe from harm,
and safe from human greed.
Just as a shepherd loves the sheep,
you know their joy, their pain.
Lord, bless the animals we keep;
may all farms be humane.

Your creatures live in every land;
they fill the sky and sea.
O Lord, you give us your command
to love them tenderly.
We are called to have dominion here,
to care for them always.
By loving creatures you hold dear,
we offer you our praise.

( Carolyn Winfrey Gillette )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Patronal feast day of Saint Laika
for all of us strays

Today Saint Laika’s celebrates Laika, the only creature knowingly sent into space to die. It is our patronal feast day.

Laika was a three year old stray from the streets of Moscow. It is believed that she weighed somewhere between eleven and thirteen pounds when she was captured, trained, and sent into space aboard the Russian Sputnik II spacecraft. She was launched into space on the third of November, 1957. She was always intended to be sacrificed. There was, in 1957, yet no way to land an orbiting spacecraft safely.

One of the technicians preparing the capsule before final liftoff states that "after placing Laika in the container and before closing the hatch, we kissed her nose and wished her bon voyage, knowing that she would not survive the flight."

Soviet officials were very secretive about the details. Only in 2002 was it revealed that Laika died only hours after lift-off, due to a mechanical malfunction. The experiment had been designed to prove that a living passenger could survive being launched into orbit and endure weightlessness, paving the way for human spaceflight, but Laika died a needless death, for she did not live long enough to collect any viable data.

Her death sparked animal rights debates across the planet. In 2008 a memorial to her bravery was established outside of Star City, the Russian rocket facility.

Why Saint Laika’s?

I suppose it’s a fair question. Traveling the earth these days are many strays, canine and human. The two-legged strays are treated as less than human, by others. They are often victimised, and many suffer and die every day, because others simply do not care. Astonishingly, many use Jesus’ own words, “The poor you will have with you always,” as a reason to do nothing. This lovable little canine points an accusing paw at human cruelty and greed.

Saint Laika’s is a collection of strays, really. Not many who are powerful, rich, or famous. Many who have been hurt by the very church whose faith they profess. We offer to two-legged strays the peace and protection Laika never had. The lives of the marginal are treated as worthy of prayer, sacrament, and grace, offered in cyber-space. In a world where the one percent strive to control your destiny and mine, who better hear our cry: “Saint Laika, pray for us!” than the gentle little barker (Laika is Russian for Barker) whose life was taken away for the sake of a “space race.”

Lastly there is the Christ-image that even a creature such as Laika reveals. For Christ, too, died a senseless death at the hands of brutal men, in a contest to see how long they could control a small strip of land on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea.

Scripture. In "Romans," chapter five, verses six and eight we read:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for laboratory animals and all creatures involved in the scientific experiments of humankind.

... for strays, runaways and the lost.

... for astronauts and all who risk their lives in the furtherance of human knowledge.

... for the people of Dominica, Micronesia and Panama, who celebrate their national days today.

... for the victims of rape and sexual abuse who are not believed.

... for the people of Madagascar who have been affected by the outbreak of pneumonic plague in their country, in particular those who have died and those who are presently ill. DETAILS

... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.


Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.


From the writings of Basil the Great:

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Oh, God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals to whom you gave the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man and ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth which should have gone up to you in song, has been a groan of travail. May we realise that they live not for us alone but for themselves and for you and that they love the sweetness of life.


O God, who dignified our mortal nature by the incarnation of your son, teach us, by the sacrificial death of Laika to value the dignity and purpose of all earth’s creatures. As we remember her soaring high above the earth, turn our thoughts toward the heavens, and toward your glory; through your son, Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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