Interfaith leaders representing Catholics, Jews, Christians, Moslems and others were joined by more than 2,000 ocean-minded people early Sunday morning for the fourth annual Blessing of the Waves celebration in Huntington Beach.
This unique observance called on participants to show spiritual appreciation for the ocean and all that it gives the planet and its population.
Attendees were joined by a Tongan choir, a Ukulele troupe, and the spiritual band UnderSky, honoring the ocean environment and sending their prayers out over the ocean to coastal communities globally.
"We benefit greatly as a community from the gifts the ocean provides. The Blessing of the Waves seeks to bring our diverse community together in celebration of these many gifts. It is truly inspiring to see such a large and diverse group of participants and faith leaders united in prayer and adoration,” said the Most Rev. Tod D. Brown, Bishop of Orange. The Diocese of Orange organized this first of its kind inter-religious event in 2008.
The year’s blessing began on land with clergy discussing the importance of our natural environment and the effect of global warming on the poor and marginalized around the world. The speakers touched on the spiritual and ethical responsibility to respect and nurture the planet and its resources. Faith leaders offered prayers representing their individual faith tradition’s reverence for the ocean and its ecosystems.
Several ceremonial conch shells were blown as the Tongan choir, dressed in traditional garb sung hymns in their native tongue out over the pacific, followed by dozens of surfers, including priests, took to the waves for a surfing session in celebration of nature’s gifts.
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