As a young roach, Francesca was warned against churches:
Her mother had told her there was no reason to visit such a place. Churches were disgustingly clean, barren of food, although sometimes you might find leftover rice from weddings under the pews, and they were dangerous.
Francesca and Martin, a skunk, originally met in a trash can awhile back:
He had startled her by rising from the garbage, wearing a cap of coleslaw and a mustache of yogurt.
“Good evening, Miss,” he said, remembering his manners. “My name is Martin. After the saint, Martin de Porres. My mother favored him. His statue was in the garden where we ate, so she named me, her firstborn, after him.”
As the Celebration of Creatures service approaches, Francesca yearns to be there, but Martin warns her against it:
“I don’t think that we are meant to be included, Francesca. It’s for the respectables, the cute and cuddlies. We are outcasts, my dear. They’ll never let us in. Can’t you just hear the humans shrieking as we walk down the aisle? They’d be fainting left and right.”
Francesca and Martin find a creative way into the church—and what a sight they see! Kids and adults alike will treasure this new story about the value of all creatures, and will learn anew that all of creation has value, purpose, and God’s blessing.