2015 Somerville/Medford Blessing of The Fleet

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Top photo:Father Paul of Saint Rafael’s Parish.

Photos by Krissy Dunne Ali and Anna Rebelo

By William Tauro

This past Sunday, a parade of boaters made their way up river for the “2015 Annual Blessing of the Fleet” ceremonies that took place on the Somerville and Medford Harbors in the Mystic River.

The annual event is part of a weekend long full of festivities which has been celebrated for decades on the river.

Medford Mayoral Candidate, former 16-year city councilor Stephanie Muccini Burke who has also served since late 2010 as Medford’s Mayor McGlynn’s director of budget and personnel assisted Father Paul of Saint Rafael’s of Medford, bless the passing vessels standing alongside all four Mystic River club’s commodores aboard the power vessel “San-dee” belonging to Somerville’s Winter Hill Yacht Club’s Commodore Joe Dunne.

Following the blessing ceremony, all boats, from all four boat and yacht clubs that are on the river made their way to the Mystic Wellington Yacht Club in Medford where Commodore Joe DiGirolamo and his club members hosted an overnight weekend event for the boaters complete with a “Blessing of the Fleet” celebration lunch and dinner and annual high school scholarship presentations.

The Mystic Wellington Yacht Club (MWYC) awarded two scholarships to graduates of Medford High School at its Blessing of the Fleet activities as it has done in previous years.

Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn presented this years’ recipients, Medford High School students Alana Rae Valdez and David Kong with their scholarship awards.

The Blessing of the Fleet is a tradition that began centuries ago in Mediterranean fishing communities. The practice is predominantly Catholic and a blessing from the local priest was meant to ensure a safe and bountiful season.

In most United States ports, the event was brought by immigrants who held strongly to their Catholic religious beliefs. The events that are part of the ritual vary by community and range from a simple ceremony to a multi-day festival including a Catholic mass, Parades, Pageantry, Dancing, Feasting and Contests. The Blessing of the Fleet is held at coastal fishing communities throughout much of the world.

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Photo:Medford Mayoral Candidate Stephanie Muccini Burke

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Photo:Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn with Medford High School students Alana Rae Valdez and David Kong and their family members

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Photo:Mystic Wellington Yacht Club Commodore Joe DiGirolamo

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Photo L to R: Stephanie Muccini Burke, WHYC Treasurer Peder Acres and WHYC Commodore Joe Dunne

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