Bishop to celebrate Assumption Mass, Wedding of the Sea, an Atlantic City Catholic tradition August 15; other celebrations at the shore

Hundreds of faithful joined Bishop Sullivan for the 2018 Feast of Assumption Mass at Boardwalk Hall.

The Wedding of the Sea Festival is the signature annual event of the citywide Parish of Saint Monica. The Wedding of the Sea tradition began in Venice around the year 1000 AD. The civil and religious leaders of Venice performed an annual “wedding” between the city and the Adriatic Sea on the Feast of the Ascension of Christ. The ritual symbolized the maritime power’s vital relationship to the sea. The tradition came to Atlantic City through St. Michael’s Church, an historically Italian parish, but was celebrated on a different feast, the Assumption of Mary.

Whether the destination is the beach, the Boardwalk, or the casinos, the great appeal of Atlantic City is the Atlantic Ocean. The Wedding of the Sea celebrates the relationship of the city and the sea and asks God to grant success to the work of so many to build up our great city.

At Noon on August 15, a brief VIP program will begin the day’s events in the Adrian Phillips Ballroom of Boardwalk Hall.

Father Jon Thomas, , offers Eucharistic benediction at the Kennedy Plaza following the ceremony at the surf.

Father Jon Thomas, pastor of Saint Monica Parish, offers Eucharistic benediction at the Kennedy Plaza following the 2018 ceremony at the surf.

The Mass of the Assumption of Mary immediately follows the program, celebrated by the Most Reverend Dennis Sullivan, Bishop of Camden.  Kenny i Entertainment will provide the music.

A procession to the surf will follow the Mass.  Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam will join Bishop Sullivan in a lifeboat for the traditional wreath toss.  All are welcome to attend.

Fr. Jon Thomas, pastor of the Parish of Saint Monica, will offer Eucharistic benediction on the Kennedy Plaza stage with the parish’s unique century-old monstrance.

Festival vendors will serve American, Italian, Hispanic, and Vietnamese food along with seafood, snacks, and desserts.

The festival at St. Michael’s Church parking lot is returning for the fourth year.  The festival will run from 1 to 7 PM. The festival is free and open to the public and includes 12 food vendors from some of the best restaurants in the neighborhood, a beer garden, live music, children’s and adult games, raffles, and more. Food includes Italian, American, Hispanic, Vietnamese, seafood, and gourmet desserts. There will be both outdoor and air-conditioned indoor seating. Free parking is available across Fairmount Avenue from Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern. Visitors may also park at The Wave Parking Garage on Fairmount Avenue. Both locations are only a block from St. Michael’s. Those who will attend the Mass may park their car at Boardwalk Hall and take a free jitney shuttle to the festival. More info go to

More Assumption Feast Day Mass times and Wedding of the Sea, Blessing of the Ocean celebrations at South Jersey shore parishes:

  Aug. 14 Assumption Vigil Mass at 4:30 p.m. with Bishop Sullivan followed by blessing of the ocean in Wildwood

  Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. in Longport

  Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. in Ocean City

  Aug. 15 at 10:30 a.m. in Stone Harbor

  Aug. 15 at 11:00 a.m. in Cape May