The arrival of Easter this Sunday brings with it one of the most beautiful traditions South Boston has to offer. The Sunrise Mass at Castle Island will take place at 6:34am on the channel side of Fort Independence with the ocean as the setting and as the sun first peeks over the horizon from the East.
The Castle Island Association started the tradition back in 1980 and has been organizing this event ever since. From the first year, with the Mass being said by Father Kelleher of Don Bosco, who was followed by Father Fleming of St Brigid, this moving ceremony draws at times thousands of people who get up before dawn on Easter Morning and make the trek to ‘The Island’ by car, bicycle, on foot or by shuttle to experience one of the most unique religious gatherings around. The Sunrise Mass continues to gain in popularity with each passing year and if weather cooperates, draws large crowds each time often numbering in the thousands.
Over the years, people have come in from many surrounding communities and other states to be part of this sacred event to celebrate the Holiest of times on the Christian Calendar. Former residents also make the trip back to South Boston for this Mass; many even travelling from other states to return to their home town to be part of it. As all know, Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ 3 days after he was taken down from the cross and was buried.
Here, the traditional Catholic Mass will be celebrated, and all people of every faith are welcome to be part of it. Holy Communion will be given to those who wish to receive. A portable altar will be set up from which the Mass will be said. The Service lasts approximately one hour from the time it commences.
Many attendees bring along their own chairs, as there is very little seating on that side of the island. It’s also recommended that you check the weather forecast for Sunday morning, so you can dress for whatever nature brings. Because it is such an early time of day and Easter comes early in the season this year, sweaters or jackets, or both, are advised.
Even if you attend your regular Mass or Service at your traditional Church on Easter Sunday in addition to the Sunrise Mass, it is said that attending the Sunrise Mass at Castle Island is very special indeed and often adds to the spirit of this wonderful season. If this will be your first time, when you arrive at Castle Island, just go to the left of Fort Independence. You’ll have no problem finding where the Mass will be said. Just follow the crowd and be prepared to enjoy an inspiring and spiritual experience that you’ll fondly remember for a lifetime.