Around 80 people gathered at St Mary Immaculate Church at a Mass organised by Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) in Falmouth on September 26 to pray for seafarers and to celebrate the feast of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Stella Maris. Fr Brian Kenwrick was the main celebrant.
Dean of Cornwall Fr Peter Morgan concelebrated Mass. AoS Wales & West Country Senior Regional Port Chaplain Rev Roger Stone BEM was in attendance.
Mass was attended by AoS Plymouth & Teignmouth Port Chaplain Ann Donnelly, AoS Falmouth & Fowey Port Chaplain John Pinhay, AoS ship visitors, parish contacts, supporters, volunteers, head office staff and local parishioners.
Also present was a group of crew members from the ship The World. Fr Peter commissioned two new AoS ship visitors during Mass – Hannah Forrest (ship visitor for the Ports of Plymouth) and Evelyn Magennis (Port of Teignmouth). Hannah and Evelyn, along with other AoS ship visitors in the Diocese provide pastoral and practical support and a listening ear to seafarers arriving at ports in Devon and Cornwall.
In his homily, Fr Brian, whose father served in the Royal Navy for 29 years, said Our Lady Star of the Sea has special meaning and significance to seafarers and the AoS.
He said, “Inspired by the Blessed Virgin, AoS provides pastoral and practical support to seafarers via their port chaplains and ship visitors in ports around the world.
“Members of AoS, inspired by the example of Mary, make themselves available to serve seafarers and serve their families. Many seafarers who AoS help are often vulnerable powerless and helpless, a long way from home in need of a friendly face and a helping hand.” Fr Brian added,
“So often seafarers have a natural awareness of the presence of God and look to Mary, Star of the Sea, to guide them to a safe harbour. Our Lady’s care, love and concern for seafarers does not cease when they arrive at port. This love continues to them as expressed and proclaimed by the AoS.
“We give thanks to our seafarers who do so very much to bring the necessities of life to our country and for AoS who show God’s love to them and their families.”
A reception was held after Mass in the church hall.