God our creator and redeemer, we marvel at the beauty that surrounds us.
The long gray weather has ended. The sky is blue now, the sand is golden and the ocean is a sparkling green.
The faces here today are black and white, red and yellow. Your sky, your ocean, the sand we lie on, is for everyone.
The beach is open, swimming is permitted. The rich and poor can come. There are no restrictions, no stickers or passes, no membership cards.
We marvel at this great beach and we say, thank you, Lord.
We ask you to watch over us, young and old.
Protect us from harm that rough water can bring. Watch over our lifeguards and security men and women.
May all who come for enjoyment and pleasure obey the rules, especially the time when it is not safe to swim—rough waters and strong currents, no lifeguards on duty, going out too far into the deep.
This is not our last prayer. We’ll thank you often, for the great beach and ocean and we’ll ask you to watch over all who will use this wonderful place you have given to us all.
Invocation Delivered at Rockaway Beach Opening Day Ceremony, Friday, May 27, 2011, by Msgr. James Spengler, St. Rose of Lima R.C. Church. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Header photo © Robert F. Carter 2009