LBI Parish Conducts First Blessing of Lifeguards

HNP Communications Features

BRANT BEACH, N J. — St. Francis of Assisi Parish here held its first Blessing of the Lifeguards on June 7 at the St. Francis Aquatic Center in Brant Beach, part of the St. Francis Community Center adjacent to the parish.

More than 100 people watched the event, a long-time dream of Stephen Kluge,  OFM,  pastor. Since the community already had a Blessing of the Fleet for those who go to sea, Stephen felt it was important to also bless the lifeguards, said JoAnne Reeder, worship coordinator for St. Francis of Assisi. Representatives of the beach patrols were blessed, along with the lifeguards from the community pools and lakes.

Juli Rosegarth, public relations coordinator for the St. Francis Community Center and parish, said, “Fr. Steven wanted to do this blessing much like the Red Mass that is dedicated to lawyers and members of the Supreme Court, and the Blue Mass dedicated to policemen and women.”

After Steve welcomed everyone, Long Beach Township Councilwoman Diane Gove read from Genesis and Sr. Pat McNiff, OSF, led  a response. Reeder and Don Myers, supervisor of the Long Beach Township Beach Patrol, spoke briefly on the importance of the lifeguards. Stephen then asked everyone to extend their hands and pray the special blessing over the guards.

Stephen plans to make the lifeguard blessing an annual event.

The photo above was taken at the March 2003 dedication of the indoor pool at the community center.