Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Traditional Misa de Pescadores and Blessing of Boats held on Dia de San Pedro


In honor of the traditional celebration of the patron saints, “San Pedro and San Pablo,” the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) collaborated with Father Eduardo Montemayor from the Roman Catholic Church in Ambergris Caye to hold their traditional mass known as “Misa de Pescadores.” This was followed by a breakfast at 4AM on Saturday, June 29th, at the Catholic church in Central Park. After the breakfast and mass, Father Montemayor led the traditional service and blessed the vessels for the upcoming fishing season. The grand celebration included two days of live entertainment. The Miss San Pedro Pageant, scheduled for June 29th, was postponed due to inclement weather.
“Dia de San Pedro and San Pablo” has been celebrated for decades. San Pedro was once a tiny village, and fishing became a primary industry around 1962. Before adopting fishing as the leading industry, island residents depended on their coconut farms. However, a catastrophic hurricane named “Hattie” struck in November 1691 with winds up to 110 miles per hour, destroying all coconut trees and the northern settlement of Ambergris Caye. This left San Pedranos unemployed amid a post-World War II that brought rapid economic and social change to Belize.
The storm’s aftermath left the people of San Pedro jobless, leading to a shift in the fishing industry and eventually to the development of the diving and tourism industry in the 1970s as the town sought alternative means of livelihood. The once sleepy fishing village was granted the status of a town in 1984.
Since then, Dia de San Pedro and San Pablo is celebrated on Ambergris Caye. The traditional celebrations involve taking statues of San Pedro and San Pablo to different homes for nine days of novenas (prayers), where the statues are honored. On the ninth day, the priest would bless the fishing boats with holy water, followed by a parade, feast, and grand festival to conclude the celebrations.

Despite the inclement weather this year, the traditional mass of thanksgiving and the annual fishermen’s breakfast proceeded as planned. The events started with a blessing of vessels around 6:30AM at the Catholic church. Participants and Catholics then boarded the boats for a boat procession from the Central Park Pier to the ‘Don Cerveros Dock,’ where Montemayor and his faithful Catholics prayed. Afterward, Montemayor blessed the boats and fishermen, and a procession back to the church honored St. Peter and St. Pablo. In the evening, another mass was held inside the Catholic Church. The SPTC expresses gratitude to all who participated in the mass and traditional boat blessing and extends thanks to the San Pedro Catholic Church for their commitment to preserving this tradition.

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