Denver Newsroom, Aug 13, 2020 / 01:43 am
For hundreds of years, Catholic parishes in coastal cities have participated in the tradition of blessing the sea and praying for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Feast of the Assumption.
While believers in landlocked areas may be unfamiliar with the practice, it is a longstanding tradition that provides an opportunity not only to pray for safe travel at sea during the coming year, but also to profess one's faith outside of church walls, one priest told CNA.
"Obviously, the prayers and blessings are good in themselves … I think it's [also] a good reminder that there is not simply a place for religion in public, but there's a hole that we needed to fill and it helps make us better people," said Father John Solomon, pastor at St. Mary, Star of the Sea in Ocean City, Maryland, which has taken part in the tradition for more than 20 years.
The tradition of blessing of the sea dates back to 15th century Italy and has since become a custom in coastal cities throughout Europe and the United States.