Wedding of the Sea


Photos by James A.McBride


Several shore parishes held Wedding of the Sea ceremonies last week.
Left, Enzo Acosta, 9, and Riley Kott, 7, hold the wreath that Bishop Dennis Sullivan would soon toss into the sea following Mass in the Adrian Phillips Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, on Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Right, the bishop leaves the beach after the ceremony.

Photo by Alan M. Dumoff

The bishop takes a boat into the surf for a similar ritual on Aug. 14, following Mass at St. Ann Church (Notre Dame De La Mer Parish), Wildwood.

Photo by Maria D’Antonio


A statue of Mary is carried in procession to the beach in Stone Harbor following Mass at St. Paul Church, St. Brendan the Navigator Parish, on Aug. 15.

For centuries, the Wedding of the Sea and similar festivals have been popular in Europe at cities and towns on the seacoast. Tradition holds that the custom originated in Venice, Italy, centuries ago when an archbishop, at sea during a storm, threw his ring into the water while praying.
The dogma of the Assumption states that the Virgin Mary was taken up body and soul into heaven, after the completion of her earthly life, since by reason of her Immaculate Conception she should not suffer the consequences of original sin. While the Assumption was infallibly declared a doctrine of the Faith by Pope Pius XII on Nov. 1, 1950, it has a history dating back to at least the seventh century when its celebration was already established at Jerusalem and Rome.