Pirie's Blessing of the Fleet live streamed worldwide

TRADITION: Port Pirie's Blessing of the Fleet festival was live streamed across the world this year. This comes as other countries were unable to hold the festival amid the coronavirus pandemic.

TRADITION: Port Pirie's Blessing of the Fleet festival was live streamed across the world this year. This comes as other countries were unable to hold the festival amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Port Pirie's Blessing of the Fleet went ahead with a twist this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The festival was live-streamed around the world with many tuning in to be a part of the celebration.

The Blessing of the Fleet is a tradition brought to Australia by our ancestors from Italy's Molfetta in the early 1900s.

It comes from Catholic Clergy, chiefly the Bishop, when available on the second Sunday of September each year and is meant to ensure a safe and bountiful fishing season.

Our Lady of Martyrs Port Pirie Italian Community president Philip Amato said this year was based around coronavirus and praying for others.

"Our theme this year was that we were carrying her for the rest of the world," he said.

"Originally, I said that we were the only ones in the world who were going ahead with the event, but I have since noticed that Argentina and the United States have done a small tribute."

On Sunday, there was a High Mass at St Mark's Cathedral followed by an hour-and-a-half break for lunch. Everyone met back at the cathedral ready for a 2pm procession of the Madonna to the boat ramp.

At the boat ramp there was a blessing at the Italian monument, followed by the laying of wreaths and a minute's silence. The Madonna was then taken to a boat where it was carried on a cruise of the waters.

The statue was blessed on its return followed by the Blessing of all Boats which wished them safety on the sea and a prosperous fishing year.

PROUD: Our Lady of Martyrs Port Pirie Italian Community president Philip Amato said he is proud of how everyone jumped on board with the traditon amid the COVID situation.

PROUD: Our Lady of Martyrs Port Pirie Italian Community president Philip Amato said he is proud of how everyone jumped on board with the traditon amid the COVID situation.

Mr Amato said the committee was grateful to have been able to go ahead with the tradition.

"We received approval from SA Health for our COVID management plan, and we were extremely grateful for that," he said.

"We are very proud about how we adapted to the COVID situation and the support we got from council and the clergy.

"We have 32 committee members who all became COVID Marshalls for the event. The congregation did a really good job and everyone abided by the rules and social-distancing.

"What happened with our Debutante Ball was that we had a choice between dancing and no alcohol, or alcohol and no dancing.

"Being a Debutante Ball, we had to have dancing so there was no alcohol at the ball and it actually opened our eyes to other opportunities and looking for the good things in it like what we gained, not what we lost.

"We really appreciate the opportunity and hopefully we can get back into the procession and the deb ball next year under better circumstances." The ceremony dates back to the fishing port of Molfetta.

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