Traditionally, in May or June there will be the ceremony of the Blessing of The Fleet. This event goes back decades with the purpose to bless and honor fishing vessels for a prosperous season and to celebrate fishing. Many communities including Narragansett, R.I. Darian, Ga and Waukegan, Il have all observed the Blessing of The Fleet. For those who make their livelihood by fishing, it’s important that all vessels have equal access to fishing channels.
Currently, with all the challenges of the current pandemic, there has been a lot of discussion that we are “all in the same boat. “
But I really wonder, is that true?
The socio-economic diversity of our population could be summarized as follows:
Some have Yachts
Some have Schooners,
Some have rowboats
Some have dinghies.
It’s not really an even distribution of resources regarding fishing and its equally not an equitable share of financial or medical assets when you talk about those who are currently affected by Covid-19 disease.
African American, Latino-American, Native American populations as well as poor elderly Caucasians and others, with preexisting conditions, have been hard hit by this virus. These people have been sailing in small crafts through great turbulent seas.
These are the people who do not have the luxury to work at home or to run to a store to beef up technological products that will allow them to Zoom, Webex or Skype business associates or family members.
The current situation has highlighted the realities of isolation and vulnerabilities for these populations.
Now will they fare as the storm continues.
For that matter ow will we fare.
We are opening our cities and towns again; business and services are re-opening albeit with cautious protective measures. People are Anxious to “get back to normal “. Some will continue to wear masks, but others will choose not to do so.
So, what happens to the least of these? (Matthew 25: 40)
Recently, commentators have noted the trend of those who would advocate:
“I’m in it for me, and forget about everyone else “
If I’m fine, why bother to be concerned about those who are dying?
One person I know was heard to say “Well people are going to die anyway “
Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo once said:
“the measure of a society is how well its treats those who have the least. “
What might that say about all our vessels that are sailing the current turbulent seas?
Are they all seaworthy?
Will some run aground?
Will some sink?
Our humanity and our compassion (caritas) informs us that our purpose must be beyond ourselves.
How we care for others, especially those who are without resources and power, as well as how we care for ourselves is critical for how we will experience our lives and the future.
We need to ensure that all vessels, big and small, might be able to navigate the waters and be safe and prosperous.
May it be so.