Pass Christian In Need Of A Blessing

"Saltwater runs in our veins." That's how Father Dennis Carver described Pass Christian's commitment to this years Blessing of the Fleet despite Hurricane Katrina.

For years, Father Carver has joined Reverend Christopher Colby in officiating over this shrining season tradition.

Their prayers ask for an abundant harvest and the safety of the fishermen but this year there was one more request.

"Heavenly father, we call upon you to impart your blessing on this vessel."

They walked among storm battered boats with a message of hope and of God's love.

The prayers of Reverend Colby and Father Carver were for fishermen struggling to rebuild their lives after Katrina.

Rev. Colby pastor's Pass Christian's Trinity Episcopal Church. "I think it helps them remember that God is with them. I think it helps them remember that they have a community around them, a community that goes beyond the fishing community. All of Pass Christian prays for them and supports them."

This year the clergymen added a special request to the prayer list, good weather.

"Calm the storms and hurricanes that threaten us this year and turn our fear of your power into praise of your goodness," prayed Father Carver.

Pass Christian's 30th Annual Blessing of the Fleet was without contests, celebrations, or decorations.

Organizers say debris made it unsafe for boats to sail outside the harbor.

So the Father and the Reverend who are accustomed to giving the blessing from water instead walked the piers.

"Different but kind of the same," said Father Carver. "Different because it's smaller but the same because we hold on to our traditions and we're tenacious in our place."

Organizers say although smaller and more subdued, the people of Pass Christian still wanted the Blessing to go forward.

"They still wanted to do it," said Chip McDermott, an organizer. "A lot of us didn't have our heart into it but because it does a lot of good besides being a fun event, it does raise money for a graduation senior so we wanted to continue that for that benefit."

The clergymen offering the blessing say they're not surprised the community refused to let this tradition die.

"Salt water runs in our veins and I think as Coasting we have a love affair with the water," said Father Carver.

This Friday a graduating senior at Pass Christian High will be presented a scholarship with the money raised from Sunday's Blessing of the Fleet.