Biloxi Blessing of the Fleet
Saturday- June 2nd and Sunday- June 3rd.
The City of Biloxi, Harrison County and St. Michael Catholic Church are pleased to announce that the 89th annual Blessing of the Fleet and Shrimp Festival which will be held Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3, 2018. The Committee encourages the boat owners from St. Michael, Vietnamese Martyrs and Blessed Seelos churches and the community to come out and celebrate this long-standing tradition in Biloxi.
A ceremonial blessing, given by a local Catholic priest, marks the beginning of the shrimp fishing season. Even though it had its origins in ancient times in Europe, the first Blessing of the Fleet in the Biloxi Bay was given in 1929, and now takes place annually in a colorful procession in the Mississippi Sound.
The ceremony begins with the dropping of an evergreen wreath into the Sound in remembrance of fishermen who have been lost at sea. Then a procession of more than 30 shrimp boats files past the anchored “Blessing Boat” where the officiating priest stands, sprinkling holy water on each of the boats and giving a blessing for each one, asking a safe and prosperous fishing season.
The tradition can be traced back to ancient times in Europe, but Biloxi's first Blessing ceremony took place in 1929. Sunday Mass was conducted by the parish priest from an altar constructed on the shore of Biloxi's Bay. The fishermen tied their decorated boats together in the bay and the priest stepped from deck to deck, blessing the boats.
The current ceremony is larger and more mobile. The shrimp boats form a procession out in the Mississippi Sound and file past the anchored "Blessing Boat" where the officiating priest stands, sprinkling holy water on the boats and giving the blessing for each one.
For more information call 228-435-6339 or email
177 First Street Biloxi, Mississippi 39530 (228) 435-5578
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