Bishop Alan Hopes, Bishop of East Anglia recently got a first-hand glimpse of how Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) provides pastoral and practical support to seafarers.
During a visit to Felixstowe port on June 8, the Bishop, accompanied by AoS’ Felixstowe port chaplain Sr Marian Davey, went on board the ship ER Pusan to meet seafarers in their everyday working environment.
He also had the opportunity to pray with some Filipino seafarers who were very happy to receive his blessing.
The Bishop received a warm welcome from the captain, his officers and crew which comprised Germans, Russians, Ukrainians and Filipinos.
He was given a tour of the ship and spent time on its bridge where he got a wonderful view of the port and ship working at full stretch.
Bishop Alan met the chief cook and some of the Filipino crew. He prayed with them and blessed them, asking them to share the blessing with their families at home.
The Filipino seafarers presented the Bishop with a rosary beads and crucifix from the Holy Land as a gesture of their appreciation for his visit on board.
The Bishop also spent some time with chief cook Mardonio and his assistants Rodel and Michael in the AoS room at the port.
The men were from another vessel, DFDS Suecia. They presented him with his very own hi-viz jacket on behalf of AoS which had the words ‘Bishop Alan’ emblazoned on the front.
They also presented him with a very scrumptious pizza. “The Bishop was very appreciative of both presentations,” said Sr Marian.
He then met with some of the staff employed by the seafarers centre and the Landguard Dock canteen where he enjoyed a nice lunch.
He concluded his visit by celebrating Mass in the port chapel which was attended by AoS supporters. The intentions and requests of the seafarers whom the Bishop met in the course of the day were included in the Mass.
Felixstowe parish priest Fr John Barnes concelebrated Mass along with Canon Michael Hazell from St Mary’s parish, Kesgrave.
During the day the Bishop was accompanied by AoS ship visiting volunteers David Offord and Julian Wong and AoS supporter Diane Littlejohn.
You can see more photos on our Flickr page.