By William Tauro
This past Saturday, the 2019 Annual Somerville/Medford Blessing of the Fleet Ceremony took place at the boathouse on the Mystic River in Somerville.
Dozens of boaters from Somerville and Medford participated in the event along with many elected officials including Medford Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke, State Representative Paul J. Donato and officers from the four boat clubs on the Mystic River.
Before the Blessing of the Fleet flotilla steamed up the Mystic to be blessed, an annual ceremonial breakfast was held and hosted by members of the Somerville Winter Hill Yacht Club. After the Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies wrapped up, the crowd of boaters headed over across the River to the Mystic Wellington Yacht Club located in Medford where they were treated to a scrumptious lunch followed by entertainment and a wonderful summer evening lobster and steak dinner.
Mystic Wellington Yacht Club, the hosting club of the event, also held turtle races which the proceeds of the charitable based races were presented as college scholarships to local children.
The Blessing of the Fleet is a centuries-old tradition that began in Mediterranean fishing communities. A local priest or member of the clergy would bless the ships taking off to sea, in hopes of a bountiful and plentiful season.