Annual fleet blessing takes on new meaning

Annual fleet blessing in Bayou La Batre, Ala. (WBRC video)
Annual fleet blessing in Bayou La Batre, Ala. (WBRC video)

By Arielle Clay

BAYOU LA BATRE, AL (WBRC) - An Alabama church's annual tradition is taking on new meaning this year as the recent oil spill threatens the livelihood of the community surrounding it.

Sunday, St. Margaret's Catholic Church in Bayou La Batre held its 61st annual festival and fleet blessing to protect fisherman and boaters.  The event is to celebrate the beginning of shrimping and fishing season with a fleet blessing.  Rev. Bieu Nguyen of the church said he always prays for those who depend on the sea for survivial, but says he will send up extra prayers this year.

"We have been praying since it happened and we continue to pray for it that it will soon be taken care of and it doesn't effect the environment for the people who depend on it for their livelihood," Nguyen said.

The oil spill was on the minds of many people who attended Sunday's event. Many wondered how the oil spill will affect their future.

"We all are just devastated," said Daniele McKinley. "It's really going to affect our way of life around here and people are really worried about their livelihood and what they're going to do."

"By the grace of God, maybe we'll all survive this and come out with a living," said Maurice Ryan, a shrimp boater. "We don't know...man has never seen this before."

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