WelCom March 2023
Wellington’s Blessing of the Boats ceremony took place on Sunday 12 February as part of the annual Island Bay Festival. The ceremony is a southern Italian tradition that dates back to the sixteenth century. It has been adopted in Island Bay by its Italian community since 1933. Local clergy bless a fleet of fishing boats and other sea-craft in this traditional ceremony to grant them ‘safe carriage and plentiful bounties’. Boats are decorated with flags and blessed by a priest to protect the crew from the sea and to bring good fortune.
Carrying out the blessing this year were Fr Doug Shepherd, parish priest of Wellington South, and Fr Jeff Drane sm, accompanied by Rev Nathan Parry and Bishop Justin Duckworth.