Here is a write-up by Margaret Charlton, AoS parish contact in St Alban's Macclesfield, who shares her experience of attending AoS National Conference held from May 9th to 11th. Margaret writes;
Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) is the maritime agency of the Catholic Church. Chaplains and ship visitors provide practical help and pastoral care in ports around the country.
Seafarers are often at sea for months and may be thousands of miles from their homes and families.
I went to the AoS National Conference in Swanwick, Derbyshire in May as the parish representative from St Alban’s church.
Conference topics were wide-ranging. There were reports of work on fishing fleets and cruise ships as well as human trafficking and seafarers’ health.
Fr Bruno Ciceri [from AoS in Rome] talked about the Pope’s initiative in the Vatican to promote human development in a new Dicastery and the work of AoS.
Many seafarers are Catholic. They come from the Philippines, India and Poland. There was a talk about Manila.
Free Planet Philippines newspapers were on display. I heard stories of how AoS had helped seafarers in trouble for example buying provisions for starving crews who had run out of supplies, stopping exploitation and being a human face in a cargo-oriented world.
Although Macclesfield is a long way from the sea many of the goods we buy are brought to us by sea. Life at sea can be hard.
I have seen at first hand the good work that AOS does for seafarers in Hull and Immingham ports.