HOUMA, La. (AP) — Each spring, before shrimp boats of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes begin trawling the Gulf of Mexico, processions of brightly colored boats head down the bayous for a blessing in hopes of a safe and prosperous season.
"We ask for God's guidance, God's providence and for his blessing," said the Rev. Alexis Lazarra of Holy Family Catholic Church in Dulac.
Holy Family Catholic Church, 6641 Grand Caillou Road, will hold the first Blessing of the Fleet on April 23. Churches in Golden Meadow (Our Lady of Prompt Succor), Pointe-aux-Chenes and Chauvin have scheduled their boat blessings for April 30.
Last year in Dulac, 75 boats were decorated and blessed, and Lazarra said he hopes more will participate this year.
The celebration will begin the day before, with Mass at 4 p.m. April 22. Afterward, fishermen will be given prayer pamphlets and medals to keep on their boats, and the community will gather two blocks from the church at the Grand Caillou Gym for free food and music from 6 to 10 p.m.
"It's a time for the fishermen to relax because they work hard for the whole year," Lazarra said.
The church recently erected a cross in honor of deceased fishermen, especially those who perished working the waters.
Chauvin's St. Joseph Catholic Church, 5232 La. 56, will begin its blessing ceremony about 11 a.m. April 30 along Bayou Little Caillou. It starts at a 9 a.m. Mass the same day. St. Joseph's will also have a Mass on Saturday afternoon dedicated to fishermen.
The Rev. Wilmer Todd of St. Joseph Church said blessing fishermen has been a Christian tradition since the beginning of the religion.
"You can go back all the way to Jesus, who blessed the fishermen," Todd said.
The Chauvin Folk Art Festival offers residents a chance to view boat procession at the Chauvin Sculpture Garden, 5337 Bayouside Drive.
"We offer it as a viewing venue and opportunity to show support for the Chauvin fleet," said Gary LaFleur, president of the Friends of Chauvin Sculpture Garden. "No other places offer an art festival plus a viewing of the Blessing of the Fleet. That's unique in Louisiana."
Golden Meadow's Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church, 723 N. Bayou Drive, will its 101st annual Blessing of the Fleet around 10 a.m., after Sunday morning Mass.
Pointe-aux-Chenes' St. Charles Borromeo Church, 1237 La. 665, will have a dedicated Mass at 10 a.m. and a boat blessing ceremony at 1:30 p.m.
Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com
Posted on Tue, April 18, 2017
by By HOLLY DUCHMANN