Blessing of the fleet: Shrimpers hope for bountiful season


Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Father Mark Watters and attendees are shown waving from the Miss Ivy shrimp vessel moments before the reverend carried out the Blessing of the Fleet through the Brownsville Shrimp Basin on Tuesday, July 9. (Photo by Freddy Jimenez)

With summer here and as the shrimping season will be initiating soon, the Texas Shrimp Association (TSA), per tradition, hosted the Blessing of the Fleet on Tuesday, July 9 at the Brownsville Shrimp Basin.

Children, women, and men- shrimping families, TSA employees, and Reverent Mark Watters came together Tuesday morning for prayer and blessings unto the upcoming harvest.

Settled at the Shrimp Basin this year, the Blessing of the Fleet tradition goes back hundreds of years practiced now by all Christians with the intention of safeguarding a positive and bountiful season.

Complimented by baked goods and coffee, attendees gathered in front of a fleet of shrimping boats as Reverend Watters began the ceremony themed “The Favorable Year of the Lord.”

“It’s a time when the church comes together; we recognize who gives us everything, we ask for His blessing, we know we’re walking under our proclamation of favor, and we come together to say thanks,” said Watters on the sermon’s message.

“It’s the Favorable year of the Lord,” deemed Watters, a priest of 22 years, who has been leading the Blessing of the Fleet for 14 years now.

Commenting on his returning experience, Watters said, “Well, they keep asking me to come back. And they tell me I’m part of the family now.”

Texas Shrimp Association executive director Andrea Hance was present and reflected on the occasion. “This is such a community based industry that we have a lot of participation with our Blessing of the Fleet, so we’re thankful for that,” she said.

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