Prayer & Worship by the sea

Posted by Censor Librorum on Aug 26, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

Prayer by the sea seems to be a nondenominational trend this summer.

The Tabor Retreat Center sponsored “Psalms by the Sea” at Long Beach, Long Island on the first Fridays of June, July and August. Carol Doherty, a pastoral associate who organized the program explained, “The psalms are prayers that involve every emotion and many facets of the human experience. We want to help people make the psalms their own.” A participant added, “I love the psalms and this is a great place to reflect on them. I feel close to God here.”

The Trinity Episcopal Church in Asbury Park, NJ offers Mass on the beach every Saturday night at 6:00 PM on the beach. “Glorify the Lord, O springs of water, seas and streams,” said Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg, reading from Canticle 12 as she stood before a homemade altar, “O whales and that entire move in the waters, all the birds of the air, glorify the Lord.”

“This was God’s first church,” said a parishioner, “How many of those stories show Jesus preaching by the Sea of Galilee? So I feel this is the most appropriate cathedral. When we were mentioning ‘the birds of the air’ the sea gulls flew by like they were on cue.”

Out here on the North Fork, the Nork Fork Reform Synagogue offers Friday evening sunset services on Kenny’s Beach in Southold. I think that’s pretty special–and I hope one of the Catholic Churches out here can do something similar. Perhaps a Stella Maris service sometime in May or August?

Last weekend as we were heading back from our walk on Orient Point beach we saw a man coming towards us carrying something we recognized as a breviary. He was hurrying to find a good rock or driftwood log to sit and pray in time for Sext (12 noon).

The flies would be kind of a pest (sent by Beelzebub!), but the notion of praying by the sea holds a tremendous appeal.

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