The Rev Patrick Barton, rector of Dunseverick, Ballintoy and Rathlin, took part in the annual ‘Blessing of the Boats’ on Rathlin Island on Friday May 26.
Patrick said this now annual event is a very fitting start to the ‘Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival’ where the communities of Ballycastle and Rathlin Island celebrate the area’s rich and diverse maritime history. The festival runs until June 4.
At the blessing. Patrick and Fr Brian Daley (Parish Priest in Ballycastle) led prayers for seafarers, the Mission to Seafarers, the shipping industry and for the family and friends of islanders who have lost their lives at sea.
Rathlin Ferry Pilot/Skipper Douglas Cecil read Psalm 107 (The Sailors Psalm), “for those who go down to the sea in ships…”
Island choir ‘Rathlin Sound’ which was only formed a few months sang two songs ‘The Enchanted Isle’ and ‘Dulaman’ which they sang in Gaelic.
The prayers culminated with the prayer of blessing (see below) prayed jointly by Patrick and Fr Brian.
Patrick said: “t was a delightful, relaxed event enjoyed by a good crowd of Islanders and visitors alike. I know the seafaring folk of Rathlin appreciate the comfort that ‘The Blessing of the Boats’ brings.”
Prayer of Blessing
God of boundless love, at the beginning of creation your spirit hovered over the deep. Your son Jesus calmed the Sea of Galilee, brought his disciples to safety, and filled their nets. Bless all these boats, and all who serve on them and who would use them. Protect them from the dangers of wind and rain and of the perils of the deep. So prosper their voyages that an honest living may be made. Watch over their passengers and crew and bring us all to the harbour of light and peace. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be upon these vessels and all who come aboard, this day and forever.