Each year, on August 15th our friars serving at our pastoral ministry of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ celebrate a unique Mass with the community, for the Solemnity of Assumption of Our Lady. The Mass always includes the Blessing of the Sea.
This year, hundreds of the Faithful joined our friars for 9:00 a.m. Mass in the Jenkinstown Beach Pavilon (a resort space donated by the Storino family, owners) followed by a procession on the beach to the sea. There, after the blessing of the ocean with holy water by Friar Pedro deOliveira, OFM Conv. (Pastor), he and Friar Marek Stybor, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar) dipped Friar Marek’s personal statue of Our Lady, into the sea. Friar Pedro then climbed up a lifeguard stand with the statue and held her high for all to see, as he made the sign of the cross. The procession of Faithful then went down to the shoreline to gather the blessed water for their homes. As Friar Pedro explained in the August 17, 2018 Issue of The Ocean Star, this is am important tradition for the people of Point Pleasant Beach because so much of their daily lives revolve around the sea.
The parish bulletin for August 12th also explained: “It is a custom in many coastal regions in the US and Europe to have special blessings of the water –the sea or ocean– on the Feast of the Assumption. The custom originated in the 15th century Italy. A bishop traveling from Venice, during a storm at sea on the Feast of the Assumption, prayed and threw his pastoral ring into the sea from the ship. The waters were calmed. In these “blessings of the sea” celebrations, after the priest blessed the water, the people wade out into the water and fill bottles with it, and use the holy water in their homes.”
All four of our friars, who live in the St. Peter Friary and serve the people of the parish and school, celebrated Mass that day, including Friar Richard Rossell, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar) and Friar Brennan Joseph Farleo, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar).