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 is am important tradition for the people of Point Pleasant Beach because so much of their daily lives revolve around the sea. As the parish bulletin for August 12, 2018 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.”
This year, Friar Brennan-Joseph Farleo, OFM Conv. remained at the parish to have Mass for those who could not attend, as hundreds of the Faithful joined Friar Pedro de Oliveira, OFM Conv. (Pastor), Friar Marek Stybor, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar) and Friar Richard Rossell, OFM Conv. for Mass on the nearby Boardwalk. Friar Pedro and Friar Marek then dipped a statue of Our Lady, into the sea after the procession of Faithful gathered at the water’s edge. Many on hand then gathered the blessed water for their homes.
Blessing of the Ocean at Saint Junípero Serra Parish
Once again this year, the Parish of Saint Junípero Serra gathered at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Seaside Heights, NJ, for the celebration of the Eucharist on the Solemnity of the Assumption with a procession to the shore and a blessing of the ocean.