Sun Shines Upon Chatham's Annual Blessing Of The Fleet

By: Kat Szmit

Topics: Commercial fishing and shellfishing , Holidays

The Rev. Brian McGurk gets help from Karen Murdoch and her daughter Regan as he blesses the Chatham fishing fleet during the annual ceremony on May 26. KAT SZMIT PHOTO

CHATHAM – It was a day of remembering and celebrating as members of local fishing families and those who support them gathered at the Chatham Fish Pier for the annual Blessing of the Fleet.



With the warm sun shining down, the Rev. Brian McGurk of St. Christopher's Church and Karen Murdoch of Women of Fishing Families (WOFF) offered prayers and thoughtful sentiments at the soulful gathering, held to help ensure that the current fishing season will be abundant and successful.


With assistance from Murdoch and her daughter Regan, McGurk blessed the boats with consecrated seawater, sending a special splash toward Stage Harbor, where many of the fleet's vessels are moored. Then, as Sarah Marchio played “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes, memorial flowers were tossed into the gentle waves of Chatham Harbor.

Shareen Davis shared the tale of a blue fisherman, while the Seafire Kids performed “The Wanderer,” followed by Shannon Neal, Courtney Wittenstein, and Andy Neal paying a fitting “Here Comes the Sun.” Amy Middleton of the First Congregational Church read aloud a story, and Laura Barabe closed the ceremony with a stirring sing-along of “God Bless America.”

Then it was time for fun and games, including a bounce house for the kids and rope coiling, quahog shucking, and dancing to the sounds of Earth Junior, while enjoying Alison's Hot Dogs or a sweet treat from the Local Scoop.

The 2018 event was dedicated to Dave Murdoch, Karen Murdoch's father-in-law, who passed away in 2017.