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From Brigantine to Cape May the Faithful Participated in the Wedding of the Sea


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Above:  Girls crown a statue of the Blessed Mother in Wildwood (Photo by Mike Walsh); Father William Kelly, Pastor of Saint Brendan the Navigator Parish, blesses his community on Avalon’s shore; Outside the Parish of Saint Monica’s Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church, priests, laity, Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, and the Blessed Mother process down Atlantic City’s Pacific Avenue (Photo by Mike Walsh)

From Brigantine to Cape May, COVID-19 could not stop South Jersey’s faithful from honoring their Blessed Mother at the shore earlier this month.

The Wedding of the Sea celebrations, held on or near the Aug. 15 feast of Mary’s Assumption every year, ask for the Virgin’s intercession on the town and the sea.

The tradition recalls a tale of the 15th century bishop of Cervia, Italy, Paul Barbo (later Pope Paul II). In a boat during a violent storm on the feast of the Assumption, he threw his pastoral ring into the waters, and the seas became calm.

Vigil and feast day Masses took place on Aug. 14 and Aug. 15, before the masked and six-feet-apart priests and faithful processed to the beach.

Bishop Dennis Sullivan led an outdoor Mass on the Assumption vigil at Wildwood’s Fox Park, for the Notre Dame de la Mer community. The next day, he marked the feast day with Atlantic City’s Parish of Saint Monica at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church. Both times he took a boat out into the surf and tossed a wreath into the Atlantic. Other shore communities marking the Wedding of the Sea included Saint Brendan the Navigator Parish, Avalon; Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish, Brigantine; Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, Cape May; Holy Trinity Parish, Margate; and Saint Damien Parish, Ocean City.

published here with permission of The Catholic Star Herald