Blessing of the Fleet set June 19 in Milford Harbor

MILFORD >> The eighth annual Blessing of the Fleet is scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, June 19, at the Milford Yacht Club, 131 Trumbull Ave., Fleet Capt. Alan H. Liebnick announced.

The blessing is a centuries-old tradition originating in Southern European fishing communities. A blessing from the local clergy was meant to ensure a safe and bountiful season.

In 2009 the Milford Yacht Club restored this tradition with an interfaith ceremony.

Traditionally, participation in the blessing will assure cruisers of fair weather and safe passage, and racers of success on the course.

The Yacht Club’s Blessing of the Fleet is intended to safeguard boaters, crew, guests and vessels from the danger of the seas through a blessing given by local clergymen at the water’s edge.

This year, the Rev. Maurice Maroney, retired pastor of St. Gabriel’s Church, Rabbi Michael Farbman of Temple Emmanuel of Greater New Haven, Orange, and the Rev. Dr. Brian R. Bodt of Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church will extend a blessing to all boaters and fishermen in Milford Harbor.

Opening ceremonies will begin on the rear lawn of Milford Yacht Club at 3 p.m. The parade of boats will begin at about 4 p.m. and head north up Milford Harbor.

Independent boaters, cruisers and commercial fishing craft skippers may join in the “blessing” parade by staging near the docks of Milford Yacht Club and listen for instructions from the dock office on VHF Channel 65. The clergy dockside at Milford Yacht Club will bless the parade of boats as they return south, heading out the channel to R4.

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