Lake Superior Days to include ‘Blessing of the Fleet’ SundayThis year’s Lake Superior Days will mark the first blessing of the fleet for boats in the Superior harbor at Barker’s Island.
By: Jessica Hamilton, WPR.org / 91.3 FM
This year’s Lake Superior Days will mark the first blessing of the fleet for boats in the Superior harbor at Barker’s Island.
It’s a ceremony that organizers say they hope will become an annual event in the Twin Ports.
Father Leon Flaherty says the “Blessing of the Fleet” on Sunday will start off with a regular blessing for people and boats and then will gradually move on to whatever boats show up.
“Rowboats, canoes could be just as well as the pleasure-craft sailboats. We’ve gotten contact with the tugs, whether some of them will be there. I put in some of the literature anything that floats,” Flaherty said with a chuckle.
The ceremony will start with a blessing of people on land, followed by individual blessings for the boats in the harbor.
“They have a prayer over the boat as it goes by, and for the people especially who own it or operate it, asking for the Lord’s blessing, safety and well-being while they use the waters that the good Lord has created for us here on our blessed Twin Ports,” Flaherty said. “We have so much opportunity around water and so much takes place around it that we want to recognize God’s gift to us.”
The blessing is not only for safety and well-being. Flaherty said they can’t say there will be no accidents, but the purpose of the blessing is to help those Lake Superior sailors react to whatever may happen while they are on the lake.
Even though this is the first blessing for the fleet in Superior, it has been celebrated around the Great Lakes, including in Bayfield. Flaherty said it is common practice in the seafarers’ business.
“It came over with the Portuguese and the Greek fishermen, especially in our coastlines, the Gulf Coast and the East Coast, and it has spread from there,” he said.
Flaherty said the vessels involved in the blessing of the fleet are encouraged to decorate their boats for the celebration.