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Fr Jose Gutierrez cs blesses the fleet at Sydney’s Fish Markets (Alphonsus Fok, The Catholic Weekly)

Glorious Sydney sunshine, the smell of cooking paella and the refrains of Ave Maria banished the rain and gloom for the triumphant return of the well-loved blessing of the fleet at Sydney’s Fish Markets. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

The event’s two-year pandemic hiatus was also forgotten as Sydney’s Italian community joined seafood lovers and bemused onlookers on September 25 to process the statue of the Madonna di Porto Salvo (Our Lady of Safe Harbour) around the markets.

Fr Jose Gutierrez cs led the crowd in prayer and blessed the ships and shopfronts, saying that God had a special place in his heart for fishermen.

“We know that the first disciples the Lord chose, the closest friends of Jesus, were fishermen!” he said.

Fr Gutierrez blessed the fleet for the first time and said it was a “priceless celebration”.

“It’s beautiful. This public manifestation of faith is great. Everybody benefits, believers, non-believers,” he said.

Paul Bagnato, a senior member of the Bagnato fishing dynasty and professional fisherman for more than 50 years, said his family had been asking for the blessing and protection of the Virgin Mary for generations.

“It is dangerous and we are at the mercy of mother nature at sea,” Mr Bagnato said.

Sydney Fish Market CEO Greg Dyer said it was a “really special day, we’re glad to be back post-COVID”.


This fleet’s blessed! (By Adam Wesselinoff, The Catholic Weekly)