Monday, October 3, 2011

Lord, Bless This Wave That I Am About to Shred

Father Mondor carries the surfboard of Father Munoz during
the annual Blessing of the Waves near Huntington Beach Pier.
(image via LA Times)
For the past four years, religious leaders of different faiths have gathered near Huntington Beach Pier for what has become the traditional "Blessing of the Waves."

Catholicism, Muslim and Judism were all represented at the multi-faith ceremony where an estimated crowd of four hundred were sprinkled with water from the Pacific Ocean. The service was sponsered by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, and headed by Fathers Christian Mondor and Matt Munoz who chose to do the ceremony on Sunday after the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. In addition to animals, Assisi is considered the patron saint of ecology.

The theme of ecological responsibility was echoed in the prayers offered from Carol Weinfeld of Temple Beth David in Westminster and Fawad Yacoob of the Islamic Society of Orange County, who recited a verse from the Koran. The service also included music from a ukuele troup, a Tongon choir and a spiritual band called UnderSky.

Bishop Tod D. Brown of the Catholic Diocese of Orange reminded those attending that "as we give thanks for this natural gift we must recognize that climate change disproportionately affects the economically disadvantaged. Environmental protection and curbing climate change is a matter of social justice that demands immediate action."

Before heading out to the waves with Father Mondor and some other surfers, Father Munoz led the crowd in a final prayer, saying,"May the gifts of creation not be something we feel entitled to ourselves as individuals. Let them be something we protect and cherish for everyone."

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