It’s a Blessing of the Boards

Connie Auteri, a stand-up paddler, has helped plan the first blessing of the boards, which will take place on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church Janis Hewitt

    Montauk already has the blessing of the fleet and the blessing of the animals, and now on Sunday the hamlet will celebrate the blessing of the boards at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church at 11:30 a.m. And who else but a mom could have gotten that off the ground?
    Its organizer, Connie Auteri, is a stand-up paddler and parishioner of the church who paddles in calm waters. But she has osteoporosis in her spine and sometimes has trouble hauling her large paddleboard from the back of her pickup truck down to the water. On one such day in the fall she met the Rev. Mike Rieder from St. Therese, who was dressed in civilian clothes and heading to the beach, and she told him about it. She said, almost jokingly, that Montauk should have a blessing of the boards.
    Mr. Rieder said, “Are you that bad?” She told him she was a newcomer to the sport and, though she fell in love with it immediately, the osteoporosis made it a bit hard for her.
    “You know who really needs blessing is those surfers. They’re so brave paddling out to those big waves. We should bless them all,” the parish priest suggested.
    Mr. Rieder wrote in an e-mail message that when he was a kid he tried skateboarding but wasn’t very good at it. He called himself a klutz with the scars to prove it. “Maybe if someone was around to bless the skateboards when I was young things would be different,” he said.
    All types of boards will be blessed, including surfboards, paddleboards, boogie boards, and skateboards. For those with several boards who find it too cumbersome to take them all to the church, Mr. Rieder recommended taking just a favorite one. “God works in mysterious ways, and even though all the boards aren’t present, God can bless the ones at your home. God is pretty good that way,” he said.
    “It’ll make Father’s Day a nice family day,” Ms. Auteri said. “Maybe it will become a tradition.”