A ceremonial blessing, given by a local Catholic priest, marks the beginning of the shrimp fishing season. Even though it had its origins in ancient times in Europe, the first Blessing of the Fleet in the Biloxi Bay was given in 1929, and now takes place annually in a colorful procession in the Mississippi Sound.
The ceremony begins with the dropping of an evergreen wreath into the Sound in remembrance of fishermen who have been lost at sea. Then a procession of more than 30 shrimp boats files past the anchored “Blessing Boat” where the officiating priest stands, sprinkling holy water on each of the boats and giving a blessing for each one, asking a safe and prosperous fishing season.
2021 Blessing of Fleet Calendar
May 19, 2021-Poster Unveiling 6pm St. Michael Family Life Center
May 27, 2021-Deceased Fisherman's Mass 6pm St. Michael Catholic Church
May 28, 2021 Past Royalty Reception 6pm St. Michael Family Life Center
May 29, 2021 Blessing of the Fleet Mass 4pm St. Michael Catholic Church
Shrimp Queen Pageant immediately following Mass Biloxi Civic Center
May 30, 2021 Blessing of the Fleet 2pm-Biloxi Harbor Channel
Our new Shrimp Queen 2020
Miss Erin Schreck and her
King Eddie Rhodes
Gunsmoke, Captain Franklin Parker
My Sons, Captained by Charles Duhon
Barbara K, Captained by John Kopsyzwa
The official Blessing of the Fleet Poster by artist Suzy Templin
On Sale at the Biloxi Visitors Center or at St Michael Catholic Church
Congratulations to all the contestants in the 2020 Shrimp Queen Pageant. Look for applications for next year.