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Blessing of the Fleet delights thousands

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The Sydney Fish Market was packed for the Blessing of the Fleet on Sunday 23 September. PHOTO: Patrick J Lee

Thousands of people turned out at the Sydney Fish Market yesterday for the annual Blessing of the Fleet and to pay tribute to the men and women who bring us the seafood so many of us love.

The annual celebration blesses vessels and their crews to pray for a prosperous and safe year of fishing.

The thousand-year old tradition from Italy from where many of the Sydney fleet’s fishermen originally hailed, brings together the local fishing fleet for a blessing and is one of the oldest in the world.

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The procession of a traditional statue of Mary and Jesus is the highlight of the annual blessing of the fleet in Sydney. PHOTO: Patrick J Lee

The highlight of the day is the procession of the Madonna through the market and to the end of the wharf – a 200kg replica statue of Santa Maria Di Porto Salvo, Protectress and Guardian of Seafarers and Fishermen, commissioned by the Association Bagnara Calabra, which usually resides at St Martha’s parish at Strathfield.

Father Pierluigi Passoni from St Mary’s Cathedral blessed each of the highly decorated fishing boats and offered prayers to thank God for the year past and to ask for protection for the fleet over the next 12 months.

Father Pierluigi Passoni blessed each boat and prayed for a safe and bountiful year ahead. PHOTO: Patrick J Lee

An afternoon of entertainment concluded the day and included live musicians, free face painting and spaghetti eating and prawn peeling competitions for the thousands of visitors, tourists, and families.

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