Gaily decorated shrimp boats, private yachts, and small pleasure crafts participate in the traditional Blessing of the Fleet on Palm Sunday. This custom began centuries ago to bless and protect the fishing vessels and their crew and to insure their safe return to port. As the vessels pass by the municipal pier, they are solemnly blessed by the Bishop or pastor of the Cathedral Of St. Augustine with the recitation of the Ancient Prayer of the Sea. “May the Blessing of Almighty God, The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost descend upon these ships and upon all who shall be in them and remain forever Amen”.
At the conclusion of the passing of the boats, a floral bouquet in the shape of an anchor is placed in the water of Matanzas Bay to float with the tide out to sea.
The Blessing of the Fleet begins immediately after Palm Sunday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica where the “Royal Trio” and the Easter Festival Week Entourage including The Bishop of St. Augustine will proceed through the streets from the Cathedral to the City Pier.