Here's a beautiful sharing from our Hull & Goole port chaplain Anne McLaren about the joy of supporting seafarers at Christmas time.
IT STARTS WITH A WOOLLY HAT AND ENDS WITH A SMILE
Like every journey in life there is always a beginning. The Apostleship of the Sea’s Woolly Hat Christmas Appeal in Hull and Goole begins with the collection of woolly hats throughout the year knitted by many of their supporters.
Many are given out to seafarers and the others kept until Christmas. Then their special journey begins.
We are blessed to have the support of many parishes, Our Lady and St Benedict and St Hilda’s in Ampleforth, St John Of Beverley, Our Lady of Lourdes Hessle, Our Lady of Beauchief and St Thomas of Canterbury Sheffield, Sacred Heart Hornsea and the Housebound Group at St Stephens Pastoral Centre in Hull who collect and provide items to fill the hats and Christmas boxes to be delivered on board.
Anne (forefront) and her team in Hull packing hats for seafarers
Each year a number of primary schools also take part and they each have a special Hat packing day at their schools where they remember how important seafarers are to us in bringing the things we need and how many of them will be separated from their families over the Christmas period.
Many thanks must be given to St Benedict’s RC school in Ampleforth, St Charles, St Richards and St Anthony’s schools in Hull, Our Lady and St Peter in Bridlington, St Georges in Scarborough and St Mary’s RC school in Horsforth Leeds for their support of our Appeal.
We deliver the hats stuffed with small gifts to the crews on board who are delighted to receive them and then we give the name of the vessel to the school so they can track the ship’s position and find out where they will be on Christmas Day when they open their hats!.
This year whilst packing the hats in one school I asked the children what was the most important thing they were packing into the hats and one little girl said “Our prayers”.
So that is what we do and when these hats are delivered on board and we tell the crews of the journey of the boxes and these little hats stuffed with their prayers there is no need for further words…their smiles say it all.”
Their smiles say it all!