Rowing News - boat blessing

Father Gaetan was involved in a very special blessing of a new quad for the John XXIII Rowing Club last Wednesday. Held at lunch time on the College lawns on a beautiful spring day in front of students from all years, everyone was able to enjoy a casual lunch (or a special bacon and egg burger provided by the Rowing Club mums) while the naming ceremony and blessing of the new quad was performed.

With the new quad proudly on display, but with a cloth draped across the bow to conceal the name until the very last moment, Mrs Fry welcomed parents and students alike to the ceremony, and reinforced the commitment of the Rowing Club to provide the best equipment available to its rowers and to promote participation by one and all in the sport. Mrs Fry emphasised the significance that is attached to the naming and blessing of a boat and then introduced Simon Williamson, from the Rowing Club, to give the specific background on the naming of this particular quad.

Simon explained that the tradition at the John XXIII Rowing Club is to name a new boat after a person that has had a direct connection with the club and its rowers. Many well known names are carried on the bows of our boats, including, to name just a few - Chaney, Ellis, Clune, Antulov and Knight. This new quad had been named after someone who had both a long involvement with the club and a material impact on its rowers, and for whom the rowers hold a deep affection. The suggestion to name the quad after this person had in fact come from the girl crews and, once discussed more broadly, met with unanimous approval.

It was with great pleasure, and a small measure of drama, that Simon revealed to everyone the new quad had been named the "Father Gaetan". The announcement was made to great cheer from the students and rowers (who were in the know!) but was a complete surprise to Father Gaetan, who later confessed that he felt a little strange blessing a boat that had been named after him. This thoughtful and considered gesture from the rowers ensures that Father Gaetan will remain a part of the Rowing Club for many years to come.