Thousands of ocean lovers adhering to different religious traditions and none gathered on Huntington Beach, CA on 14 Oct. 2012 for the fifth annual "Blessing of the Waves" reports Voice of America. Sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, the interfaith service featured prayers, teachings and music from Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Zoroastrian traditions among others, and was followed by a dip in the ocean.
The first "Blessing of the Waves" service was held in 2008. Dan McCue, a spokesman for the Orange Diocese told the Los Angeles Times that the idea for the event came when they noticed beachgoers standing by the ocean in the morning holding hands before the waves. The first gathering drew 400 people. This year's gathering attracted approximately 3000 people, according to The Orange Country Register. Each year the event is held in early October around the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment.
For Father Christian Mondor, the 87-year-old organizer of the event, surfing is a deeply spiritual experience. “In the religious symbolism, water is one of the great images of life and energy,” he told South California Public Radio. “It’s a symbol of God’s presence," he added.
[h/t Voice of America]
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