Photo by Alan M. Dumoff
N.J. Civil War Association members, in Civil War uniforms, fire off a three-gun salute during the Blessing of the Mullica River.
Last Saturday, June 12, Father Neal Dante joined 100 Mullica Township residents in the ninth annual blessing of the Mullica River, which included song, history and prayer.
Organized in 2002 by the St. Mary’s in the Pines Cemetery Commission, the blessing was held at a historic burial ground that the commission has restored. Dating to 1827, the cemetery is said to be the foundation of what was the first Catholic church in the state below Trenton.
Decked out in Civil War garb, members of the N.J. Civil War History Association presented the U.S. and state flags in honor of Flag Day, which was two day later, and fired a three-gun salute.
A history lesson about the Mullica River and its surrounding area, was given by Budd Wilson, a local historian.
Preceded by the St. Martin de Porres, Hammonton Parish Choir, who sang a hymn commemorating the day, Father Dante asked those with him to touch and bless a wreath, made of honeysuckle, bittersweet, Weymouth blueberries, and prickly pear cactus, that would be tossed into the river.