St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, patroness of the sea

EMMITSBURG, Md. —The National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton will host hundreds of visitors on Oct. 7 at 3 p.m. for its annual Pilgrimage for the Sea Services.

Members of the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, and The United States Public Health Service along with family members and friends will gather at the Basilica in Emmitsburg. The event is held each year to honor St. Elizabeth Ann Seton as Patroness of the Sea Services and ask for her intercession for all the men and women serving in the nation’s Sea Services.

“This year we are honored to have Admiral William Fallon assuming the chairmanship of the Sea Services committee,” said Rob Judge, executive director of Seton Heritage Ministries.

Fallon, a four-star admiral, served for 41 years in the U.S. military and his last assignment was a Commander, U.S. Central Command from 2007-08.

He is a Merchantville native and 1963 graduate of Camden Catholic High School, Cherry Hill.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s link to the sea services stems from the U.S. Navy service of her two sons, William and Richard. Her deep concern for William, who was appointed midshipman on the fourth of July in 1817, is evidenced in the many letters she wrote him during his 17 years of service.

In February 1818 he reported for duty aboard the USS Independence, and in July, he was assigned to the USS Macedonian, which sailed from Boston around Cape Horn to Valparaiso, Chile. While he was on this voyage, his mother died on Jan. 4, 1821.

Mother Seton’s letters to her sons at sea showed a mother’s concern.

“Now men and women at sea can know they have a saint watching over them. They can entrust their loved ones to her care,” said Admiral Fallon.

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