LONGPORT – The annual “Blessing of the Sea” Mass will be held 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 15 at Holy Trinity Parish’s Epiphany Church followed by a procession to the ocean. The event celebrates the the Feast of the Assumption, which Catholics believe is the day Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus Christ, ascended into heaven.

The annual tradition includes a procession from the church on 29th Avenue to the beach where a parish priest blesses the sea. During the procession, the faithful will sing the “Ave Maria” and other devotional hymns and recite “The Lord’s Prayer.” After the priest blesses the sea and all who venture there to sail and fish, attendees fill bottles with ocean water to take home to share the blessing with others. The priest will board a surfboat and row out with lifeguards to toss a wreath into the ocean in memory of all those who perished there.

The shore town’s tradition is modeled after similar ceremonies in Italian cities that bless the sea to protect seafarers and fishers who take their livelihoods from the sea.

Refreshments follow at Totaro Hall.

Categories: Downbeach

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.