Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wilbo Boards the Port City Princess and Takes A Sea Journey to Bless Ships of Lake Muskegon, Lake Michigan.

So I bought a ticket on a slow boat around Lake Muskegon; a brunch will be served. At the channel, all the clergy aboard will stand at the bow and bless any ships that line up. It's a lovely celebration I witnessed in Norfolk that day I arrived, where scores lined up for a spray of holy water from a sprig of cedar. Since the Hampton Roads is a birth place of ships, especially for the American navy, blessings are taken seriously. I feel lucky that this ship, the Port City Princess, moors in my front yard. Okay, Heritage Landing is in my front yard too. Okay, I lay claim to all I see from my home like a delusional King Lear. The ship you see to the right is a capable ship; however, once it leaves the mooring at the Mart Dock, it can not return, banished by the City of Muskegon. Great, all we need in the Port of Muskegon is one more ship that doesn't travel anywhere! I have often thought that a wonderful person should come on this journey, either the mayor or a beautiful woman, and toss a ring of gold into the water where Lake Muskegon and Lake Michigan meet, celebrating our marriage to the sea. Just like Venice. And I forgot my coat.

An informally organized fleet follows the Port City Princess to the channel seawall for blessing. Becalmed on Lake Michigan, we offered up roses to the waters to remember all the lost boats and sailors on the Great Lakes and remembered Ralph Precious, who set the Port City Princess on her mission many years ago. The Laurentian pumping water into its hoses, volunteers even washed the South Pier lighthouse as we cruised past. At the Silversides, we saw the preparations being made for the submariners to observe the lost boat ceremony, remembering all the submarines still on patrol. Last year, more than seventy ships lined up for a blessing. Right now, we have a full bucket of holy water. As we have an Anglican priest, a nun from Nigeria and a Secular Celebrant of board, we can send down a bucket on a rope and bring up more in case more is required.

One wag quipped that Chaplain Finn, attached to the US Navy, should bless the rainstorm drizzling a light mist and reach all the boats simultaneously and in an omnipresent fashion.
 — at Muskegon South Pierhead Light.

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