Fr David Gamble, an Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) cruise chaplain was thrilled to be part of Cunard’s 175th anniversary celebrations.
Fr David sailed on board the Queen Mary 2 on its recent British Isle voyage where the ship met the other two Queens in Liverpool on May 25.
But far from being a guest on a holiday, Fr David was a man on mission, to provide pastoral support for its 1,000 crew.
“I joined the ship at Southampton and was there to support the crew. Everyone else on board expects something of the crew but my main duty as an AoS cruise chaplain was to assist the crew, to offer them friendship and a listening ear.
“Many of them come from countries like the Philippines, India and Eastern Europe and have been at sea for months, away from family and their contracts can be for as long as nine months. Due to busy work schedules many are unable to receive the Sacraments. I was able to celebrate Mass on board which was appreciated by the crew," said Fr David.
Despite working on a crowded and busy ship, crew can often feel homesick and isolated. The presence of a chaplain on board offers them comfort, someone they can trust and speak to in confidence, said Fr David.
The chance to sail on board the Queen Mary 2 and be part of Cunard’s celebrations was an exciting one for the 51 year-old parish priest of Our Lady of Victories in Hightown and Holy Family Ince Blundell, Liverpool.
“It was a real honour and privilege for me, a Liverpool born and bred lad, to be part of this experience,” said Fr David.
He adds, “AoS’ cruise chaplaincy ministry is an amazing one and one that is truly appreciated by many seafarers and cruise ship crew.”
Fr David is no stranger to cruise chaplaincy, having previously sailed on Queen Elizabeth 2 from 1996 to 2002. He has struck up many friendships with crew he has met during his ministry and is still in contact with many of them.
Cruise chaplaincy is part of AoS’s broader work of supporting seafarers working on merchant and fishing vessels and also their families back home.
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