Normally the Feast of the Assumption is a ‘work day’ for me in my parish. But being in Cape May afforded me the opportunity to attend liturgy with my wife (a rarity) and to partake in the annual celebration of the “Wedding of the Sea.”
According to legend, in 1445 the Bishop of Cervia, Paul Barbo, who later became Pope Paul II, was returning to Venice on the Feast of the Assumption, when the ship got caught in a storm. After the bishop prayed, he threw his pastoral ring into the sea from the ship — and the waters were calmed.
So this morning, right after the Mass for the Feast Day, the celebration in Cape May continued as a procession took place three blocks to the ocean and the pastor, Fr. Frank Danella, OSFS, led the crowd in prayer and song as the local lifeguards rowed out into the ocean to throw a wreath of flowers and a ring from a boat into the water, symbolizing the union of the city and the sea.
Here is the prayer that Fr. Frank offered:
Greetings, Mother Ocean, I come to bless You in the name of the triune God. I pray that you be restored to your original health, beauty and protected from all damaging hazardous chemical: oil, gas, spills, dangerous wastes, plastics and all that harm and retard your well-being.
I pray for protection, health and growth for all marine and plant life that you birth and sustain – mammal, fish, plants, tress, mountain, rock and all marine creatures in your loving care.
I pray for all who depend on the oceans for their livelihood. Bless all boats and ships that travel on this ocean, take care of then and protect them.
I pray for all who care for and protect this beach and those who come to these waters. Watch over all who enjoy the beauties and the refreshment of the cool waters. Keep them safe and unharmed.
May we grow in gratitude, love and respect for these primordial seas. And may almighty God continue to bless these waters: in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. - Amen
It was a beautiful way to celebrate our Lady on her Feast Day and as we listened to everyone singing Thus it was a blessed way to remember that we are all community…all connected to creation….all connected to Mother Ocean…all connected the God who dwells within.