A parade of classic cars crept down Diamondhead East Drive and into the blessings of waiting pastors for the fourth annual Blessing of The Classics during Cruisin’ The Coast on Wednesday.
More than 500 cars took part in the event, which saw participants line up near the interstate and drive to a cul-de-sac in Diamondhead East as an array of spectators watched from side of the road.
“The event was designed with a threefold purpose, said Mark Duffy, chairman of the Blessing of the Classics committee. “One, to bring the classic cars to the residents of Diamondhead instead of them trying to find them. Two, to help the merchants in participating with a large crowd and some revenue generation. Thirdly, for the cruisers to get their cars blessed and get a special gift to them.”
On top of a blessing, drivers received a pair of fuzzy dice to hang in their ride and a certificate of participation. After gaining a blessing from one of the pastors on hand, the cars snaked their way back to Rouses Market for a party in the parking lot.
Rev. Paddy Mockler of Most Holy Trinity Church in Pass Christian blessed cars for the third straight year.
“It’s a great day. It’s a lot of fun,” Mockler said. “It’s lovely to see the old cars and it’s lovely to put a blessing on them.”
The reverend appreciated the ability to quickly bless those driving, especially when he recognized a fellow Catholic.
“What I like about it is, we Catholics make the sign of the cross, so when you make the sign of the cross you know whether the people are Catholic because they’ll sign you back,” Mockler said. “That’s one of the things I like about it is you have an instant identity with them.”
For Dr. Richard T. Gillespie, interim pastor at Diamondhead Community Church, the blessing was a chance to witness Cruisin’ The Coast for the first time. A Georgia native, Gillespie blessed participants as they drove by and offered words of encouragement.
“People come from all over the country, apparently,” Gillespie said. “I think it’s a really wonderful opportunity to offer a blessing for their safety and once again to tell folks that God is with us and is watching over us.”