Annual 'Blessing of Fleet' kicks off boating season
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Apr 22, 2014, 13:51
CAITLIN DAVIS/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Donna Macneil, stands on the deck of her boat, ‘Tomorrow,’ as Deacon Charlie Curtis blesses the boat with Holy Water.
HOPEWELL — With sprinkles of Holy Water and a prayer of blessing, about a dozen boats at Anchor Point Marina in Hopewell were blessed as boating season warmed up.
For more than two decades, the marina has been holding their “Blessing of the Fleet” event. Current Commodore for Anchor Point, Christine Salyer, said the blessing is for safe travels and a fun boating season.
“I’ve been doing it for a lot of years and I’ve never been left anywhere that it did not bring me home,” Salyer said. “I feel confident that it works.”
Deacon Charlie Curtis, with St. James Catholic Church in Hopewell, presided over the blessing of the boats on April 12, under the warm sun and clear skies. Curtis walked up and down the slips, anointing the boats with holy water and saying a prayer of blessing.
“I call your blessing upon this boat and all who sail upon her, in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen,” and as the prayer was read, Curtis sprinkled holy water down the side of boat.
Keith Barker, of Hopewell, and past commodore for the marina, had his boat blessed at the event. Barker, who has been a boater for more than 45 years, said the day is not only about the blessing but about fellowship with the boating community.
Keith Barker stands alongside Deacon Curtis as his boat, the Lisa Marie, is blessed and anointed with Holy Water.
“It’s not only about having your boat blessed, it’s getting us all in here together,” Barker said.
As an avid boater since his teens when he received his first jon boat and would spend his days on the water with his fishing pole and his dog, Barker has kept a love for the river and for boating.
“My wife and I both love it on the river. We are spending the night on the river after the blessing,” Barker said.
Barker’s boat, the Lisa Marie, named after his wife, was blessed by Curtis that afternoon and Barker could not be more pleased.
“We always felt you should start the boating season off right,” Barker said, who has been having his boat blessed for over 13 years.
Though the blessing of the fleet is a tradition for the boaters at the marina, it is also a sign of faith and an event that they say will bring them safely back the harbor.
“I have never been left anywhere,” Salyer said. “I might come back a little battered but never left behind.”
Salyer also noted that any boater in Hopewell can bring their boat to Anchor Point during the ‘Blessing of the Fleet’ event. It’s open to the community, not just members of Anchor Point.
“One by one, the boats get blessed and their captains for a fun, safe summertime of boating,” Salyer said. “It’s for safe travels and good health.”