Father Jong, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, will bless the boats of Lake Gaston on Saturday, May 23, from noon to 2 p.m. A pontoon boat with Father Jong on board will be anchored on Lake Gaston in front of WatersView Restaurant near the north end of Eaton Ferry Bridge.
Boaters can approach the pontoon boat, and Jong will bless the boat, crew and passengers. Jet Skis are included. Everyone is welcome.
Blessing of the boats, and/or fleet, is a tradition that began centuries ago in the Mediterranean Sea fishing communities. The belief is that a blessing from the local priest was meant to ensure a safe and bountiful season. This tradition was brought to the United States by immigrants from the Mediterranean during the 1800s. Numerous ports in the United States along the East, West and Gulf coasts hold an annual Boat and/or Fleet Blessing, usually combined with parades, pageantry, Catholic mass and parties.
St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church has made the Blessing of the Boats an annual event.