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SOUTH BOSTON -- Next to the tall ships in the harbor for Sail Boston 2017 and amidst the hustle and bustle of the crowds of people who had come to see them, a morning ecumenical prayer service for sailors was held at Our Lady of Good Voyage Shrine, June 18.
"If there's any group of folks who turn to God, it's those who make their living sailing the seas," said Father James Flavin, rector of the shrine, in words of reflection during the service.
"Sailors and fishermen and those who journey the sea to make their living trust in God. They have an amazing respect for nature and for creation. It's only God and their skill that helps them in what they do," he continued to the nearly packed shrine.
Among those who filled the pews were several Navy and Coast Guard personnel in Boston to celebrate Sail Boston 2017.
Held June 17-22, Sail Boston 2017 brought a fleet of over 50 tall ships from 13 different countries to Boston Harbor. It is estimated that millions of people took part in the six days of activities before the ships departed June 22, with thousands attending the highlight of the event, the opening Grand Parade of Sails.
The ecumenical service saw readings from the Hebrew Scriptures, the Christian Scriptures, and the Quran, and a blessing of sailors was given by Father Flavin.
Rear Admiral Jim Malloy, commander of Carrier Strike Group 10, was one of the readers during the service.
The service "hit on common themes of sailors going to sea and the dangers inherent in that, so I'm very honored to support that," Admiral Malloy told The Pilot following the service.
Up from Virginia with the USS Whidbey Island for Sail Boston, Malloy said he's enjoying the city.
"Boston in the summertime is a wonderful place to be. We're honored to be here and grateful to be here and I enjoy supporting the event," he said.
Commander Clifford Stuart, a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chaplain who serves at First Coast Guard District in Boston, also proclaimed a reading during the service.
"Sail Boston is an amazing event, and we're really happy to be here because our military assignment is short and I understand that the event with all the tall ships is not a common occurrence," he said following the service.
"It was really great to be here and see the ships."