As the fishing season hits its stride, fishermen are joining with a local church to pray for the safety of all who travel out onto the rivers and into the seas in the coming months.
On Friday afternoon, near the Warren Ames Bridge in Kenai, Father Roger Bergkamp of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Soldotna was joined by local setnetters for a Blessing of the Fleet. The blessings, read by Bergkamp, are extended to all indivuduals going out on the water in the South Central Kenai Peninsula.
“We’re basically blessing anyone on the water, sport fishermen, setnetters, drifters…” said Krys Williams, a setnetter from Kasilof.
“And sportfishermen too,” continued her husband, Robert Williams. “For anyone utilizing the waters in the south central area, we want this blessing to cover their safety first and foremost.”
The group met near the Kenai River, right by the Warren Ames Bridge, to adminster the blessing.
“We’re asking for God’s help to watch over us during our summer harvest,” Robert said. “… It’s supposed to be pretty meager, but we always hope for the best.”
This is the second year that Bergkamp has performed the blessing near the Kenai, but he said he was looking to expand the Blessing of the Fleet each year and bringing it closer to those who need it.
“We’re just getting started here,” he said. “But what we’d like to see is different places, where there is fishing… we’ll go there and do a blessing. It’s easier for us to go there than for them to come here, especially with boats.”
The blessing includes a thank you for the “rich harvest of salvation.”
“Bless these boats and equipment, and all who will use them,” the blessing continued. “Protect them from the dangers of wind and rain and all of the perils of the deep.. May Christ who calm the storm and fill the nets of his disciples and bring us all to the harbor of life and peace.”
Reach Kat Sorensen at firstname.lastname@example.org