Corky Carroll

Blessing of the Waves is this weekend in Huntington

Huntington Beach is gearing up for the second annual Blessing of the Waves. The Blessing has gained a great deal of attention this year and is drawing the involvement of secular and religious alike. We expect participation to double this year. Ryan Lilyengren from the Diocese of Orange sent me this e-mail:

"The 2009 event seeks to build on the environmental and spiritual messages highlighted last year. The religious leaders present will speak to the impact of climate change and pollution in our communities and the impact on the poor and marginalized globally. Catholic "surfing priests" will talk about the Pope's message on climate change and the Catholic Climate Covenant ( Also, we are happy that Rabbi Nachum Shifren, the famous "surfing Rabbi" (, will be involved this year – in addition to the many other clerics representing the Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Mormon, etc. denominations.

The celebration this year will fall on (Sunday) Oct. 4 – the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron Saint of Ecology, and on the 800th anniversary of his founding of the Franciscan Order in 1209. It will be at Huntington Beach Pier from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Franciscan priest and longtime Huntington Beach surfer, Fr. Christina Mondor, had the inspiration to organize this interreligious observance.

The goal of this Diocesan-sponsored prayer service and blessing is to bring together surfers and ocean-minded people, regardless of their faith tradition, to show spiritual appreciation for the ocean and all that it gives the planet and its population. This gathering demonstrates concern for a cherished environment already compromised by the effects of climate change, toxic emissions and other pollution.

Southern California is home to many world-class surf breaks, and the majority of these are in Orange County. Many people spend much of their time surfing and enjoying the natural beauty of our coastline and recognize the spiritual importance of this natural asset. California's coastal region is under significant threat due to pollution and global climate change. California will lose an estimated 41 square miles of coastline due to erosion by 2100, according to California Climate Change Center. Wave height and wave shape – requisites for surfing – are adversely affected by sea floor conditions influenced by silt and other detritus entering the ocean. Our beach water quality is already dangerous to the health of swimmers and others – between April 2008 and March 2009, 130 beaches in California were closed because of the presence of toxic waste and other hazards."

For most of my life, I have been a firm advocate of fun first and worry later – an attitude that has had its good and bad results on my life over the years. When it comes to things like toxic stuff and dead fish all over the beach, it's time to worry now. The environmental state of the earth is scary. Please come out to this event.