The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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May 18, 2013

Blessing of the Fleet is tonight at Ashtabula Harbor Public Dock

ASHTABULA — The tradition of blessing area mariners began more than 60 years ago in the Ashtabula Harbor.

Our Lady of Peace Parish continues to observe that tradition by inviting the public to attend the 64th Annual Blessing of the Fleet at 6:30 tonight at the Ashtabula Harbor Public Dock.

The Blessing of the Fleet is a short prayer service asking for God’s blessings and protection upon all who will venture out on the sea during this boating season. There will be prayers for the crew of the watercraft and blessings on the boats in the harbor.

There will be a casting of the wreath on the water for all those who have perished at sea.

The U.S. Coast Guard will participate in the ceremony.

The Blessing of the Fleet is a long-standing tradition in the Ashtabula Harbor. The prayer service began in the 1930s when a priest at the Mother of Sorrows Church decided to send sailors and shipmasters off for a season of shipping on the Great Lakes with the faith of a safe return. The ceremony also officially opens the boating season on the dock.

In the past, the service has been well-attend, with crowds gathering on the dock to watch the ceremony which included music.

For more information, call Betsy Franklin at 440-964-7600.

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