Bayou La Batre in Mobile County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Alabama's Coastal Connection
Blessing of the Fleet
The Blessing of the Fleet is a tradition that began centuries ago in Mediterranean fishing communities. The practice is predominantly Catholic, though sometimes Episcopalian, and a blessing from the local priest is meant to ensure a safe and bountiful season.
The annual Bayou La Batre event, which opens the shrimp season each May, began in 1949. It has become part religious ceremony part local heritage celebration and part tourist attraction. It centers on the colorfully decorated boats that cruise up the Bayou to receive blessings by the Archbishop who prays for a good harvest and a safe return. Other activities include a land parade, arts and crafts displays, dinner, and seafood contests including crab picking, shrimp heading and oyster shucking.
• The Blessing of the Fleet is held at coastal fishing communities throughout much of the world.
• In most ports, the event was brought to the United States 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.
• The two Bible verses most commonly used in Blessing of the Fleet are: Psalm 104, verses 24-41 & Psalm 107, verses 23-32.
Others went out on the sea in ships;
They saw the works of the LORD,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
Location. 30° 24.239′ N, 88° 14.894′ W. Marker is in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, in Mobile County. Marker is on South Wintzell Avenue (Alabama Route 188) south of Tapia Avenue, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located on the grounds of St. Margaret Catholic Church, by the sidewalk, in front of the Parish Office. Marker is at or near this postal address: 13790 South Wintzell Avenue, Bayou La Batre AL 36509, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Bayou La Batre (within shouting distance of this marker); Bayou La Batre, Alabama (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Bayou La Batre (within shouting distance of this marker); The Story of Bellingrath Gardens (approx. 6.6 miles away); William Bartram Trail (approx. 9.9 miles away); Military Service Monument Dauphin Island Indian Shell Mound Park (approx. 13.2 miles away); 19th Century Shipwreck (approx. 14.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bayou La Batre.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Bayou La Batre, Alabama
Also see . . .
1. History of Blessing of the Fleet. The custom of the Blessing of the Fleet can be traced back to Old World European fishing communities where God was publicly acknowledged and asked for a bountiful harvest and the safety of the men at sea. In 1949, St. Margaret’s held its first Blessing of the Fleet envisioned by a parishioner, Clarence Mallet, who moved to Bayou La Batre from Louisiana in 1925 with a strong belief that God’s blessings were essential to a good harvest from the sea. With this conviction, he convinced Father Alex O’Neill to hold the first Blessing of the Fleet. (Submitted on April 30, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Alabama's Coastal Connection. (Submitted on May 1, 2018.)
Categories. • Churches & Religion • Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on May 10, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 30, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 98 times since then and 2 times this year. Last updated on May 9, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 30, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.