AoS chaplains are arranging for seafarers to receive the ashes on Ash Wednesday and providing materials to help them reflect on the meaning of Lent. Many Catholic seafarers who are away at sea for long periods of time, sometimes up to a year, will not be able to share in the Lent and Easter services in a parish. Many of them are from the Philippines and Goa in India, and truly cherish being able to attend Mass, especially during this time.
Our Immingham port chaplain Fr Colum Kelly says seafarers have few opportunities to meet a priest and receive sacraments. “When I celebrate Mass in the seafarers’ centre, seafarers will often comment that it was their only chance to be at Mass for a year or more. I am regularly asked to celebrate Mass on ships and these too are very special and joyous occasions.”
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Portsmouth and Southampton chaplain Rev Roger Stone, echoes Fr Colum. “I offer seafarers Christ in the form of Holy Communion, leading services on board whenever I’m asked. For seafarers who are strong in their faith, being unable to receive Holy Communion is a real problem."
“On one ship I went on I was thumbing through a Bible to select some readings and a couple of seafarers suggested some passages. They didn't need a Bible. They knew the references. They were far better at knowing their needs than I ever could be.”
AoS, through its ministry, continuously ensure that seafarers and peoples of the sea are cared for and that their spiritual needs are looked after, by offering practical and spiritual assistance. ~ Additional text by Greg Watts
Seafarers receiving ashes on board a ship from Rev Roger Stone