Annual ‘Blessing of the Boats’ held at Harveys Lake

Last updated: June 29. 2014 11:33PM - 4070 Views
By - jlynott@timesleader.com

Rev. Daniel Toomey has been performing the annual Blessing of the Boats at Harveys Lake since 2010. On Sunday, he was back at it.
Rev. Daniel Toomey has been performing the annual Blessing of the Boats at Harveys Lake since 2010. On Sunday, he was back at it.
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HARVEYS LAKE — On the seventh day God rested, the Bible says, and the so did many of the Rev. Daniel Toomey’s parishioners.

They motored by the dock where Toomey waited to sprinkle holy water on their boats of all sorts on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Toomey, clad in a white alb and purple stole, ventured to the edge of a dock around 2:50 p.m. and read a prayer he wrote especially for the Blessing of the Boats.

“May your days of rest and recreation of all who come here today, be blessed and be full of God’s love, grace and hope,” he said.

Poontoon boats, motor boats, a sail boat and jet skis, close to 40 in all, took on a few drops of water from the straw brush Toomey dipped into a pitcher and swung in their direction. He was busy for nearly 30 minutes.

“I saw a lot of parishioners,” said Toomey, who is pastor of nearby Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic church and Gate of Heaven church in Dallas.

He’s been giving the blessing since 2010 and continued the tradition that began several decades ago.

“It’s been done for years before I got here,” Toomey said.

There’s no particular significance to when it’s held. Toomey tries to schedule it for a picturesque summer day like Sunday. A steady breeze blew across the water, creating a slight chop and providing cool relief as the temperature climbed into the 80s. Other times, when the weather was less than heavenly, fewer boaters turned out.

The event is published in the church bulletin, some signs advertise it and it spreads by word of mouth.

“I think what happens is that a lot of the communities know it exists,” Toomey said.

Toomey’s moved around with the blessing, holding it at adjacent docks and the Warden Place beach, before settling on the “All in the Family” property. Martha Herron and her sisters, Shala Marszalek and Mary Jo Cannon, and Katharine Douihy, Marszalek’s daughter, have the cozy waterfront house and dock. They welcomed Toomey and allowed him unfettered access for the blessing.

“We love Father Toomey. We love Our Lady of Victory,” said Herron. “He’s part of ‘All in the Family.’ ”

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