Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Catholic Prayer: Roman Ritual: Blessing of the Sea


Prayer Categories (1)


Feasts (1)


Blessing found in 1964 Roman Ritual, often prayed on the feast of the Assumption in Italy and the New York and New Jersey coastline.

[This blessing is not to be found in the latest edition of the Roman Ritual of 1952, for its composition is of later origin, and was approved by the Congregation of Rites on April 27, 1955 (see AAS 47 [1955] 414-15). In the city of Chioggia-Venezia, in Italy, it has been the custom for many years to bless the Adriatic Sea, in accord with a very ancient custom prevailing for centuries in the onetime flourishing Republic of Venice. In composing this blessing the Holy See has acceded to a request that has come in from many quarters of the globe. After the splendid psalm 28, which tells of God's glory manifested in the mighty seas, there follow three prayers, the first of which asks that, in view of the magnitude of the waters, we may become enraptured with contemplating the "secrets" of God; the second, which is directed to Christ, begs that all ocean-voyagers may be saved from the dangers of the tempestuous waters; the third asks God's blessing and success on fishermen who earn their daily sustenance from the sea.]


The priest intones the following antiphon, which is then followed by Psalm 28:

P: Ant.: The voice of the Lord is over the waters, * the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over vast waters.

Psalm 28

P: Give to the Lord, you sons of God, * give to the Lord glory and praise,

All: Give to the Lord the glory due His name; * adore the Lord in holy attire.

P: The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the God of glory thunders, * the Lord, over vast waters.

All: The voice of the Lord is mighty; * the voice of the Lord is majestic.

P: The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, * the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

All: He makes Lebanon leap like a calf * and Sarion like a young wild bull.

P: The voice of the Lord strikes fiery flames; the voice of the Lord shakes the desert, * the Lord shakes the wilderness of Cades.

All: The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests, * and in His temple all say, "Glory!"

P: The Lord is enthroned above the flood; * the Lord is enthroned as king forever.

All: May the Lord give strength to His people; * may the Lord bless his people with peace.

P: Glory be to the Father.
All: As it was in the beginning.

After the psalm the above antiphon is repeated. Then the priest continues:

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)

P: And lead us not into temptation.
All: But deliver us from evil.

P: All you fountains of waters, bless the Lord.
All: All you seas and waves, bless the Lord.
P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.
All: And let my cry be heard by you.

P: The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.

Let us pray.

Almighty everlasting God, Father of incomprehensible majesty, whose invisible power can be glimpsed from your visible creation; O God, whose Spirit hovered over the waters in the beginning of the world, grant to us, your servants, that as often as we behold with our bodily eyes the mighty waters swelling out in billows on the heavenly horizon, we may be enraptured in contemplation of your hidden mysteries. Let such a sight and the thoughts it arouses prompt us to invoke and to glorify with due praise your holy name, and to render to you, to whose empire all creatures are subject, the homage of our minds in true humility and devotion; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, who once walked upon the waters, who uttered a word of command to the raging tempest of wind and sea and there came a great calm; let your piteous glance fall on us, your servants, who find ourselves surrounded by the many perils of this life; and grant that by the power of your blessing + poured out on these waters all wicked spirits may be repelled, the danger of the tempestuous winds may subside, and that all who are at voyage on the seas, through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin, your Mother, may safely reach their destination, and finally return unharmed to their homes. We ask this of you who live and reign forever and ever.
All: Amen.

Let us pray.

Lord, who said: "In the sweat of your brow you shall eat your bread"; kindly heed our prayers and bestow your blessing + on this sea, so that all who are obliged to earn their daily bread for themselves and their families by traversing these waters may be enriched with your bounty and offer you due gratitude for your goodness; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

The sea is sprinkled with holy water.

Prayer Source: Roman Ritual, The, Complete Edition by Philip T. Weller, S.T.D., The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, WI, 1964