“It is God’s will”

Aberdeen port chaplain Doug Duncan believes that faith propels him to carry out his ministry supporting seafarers. Doug sees his appointment as God’s will.
            He spent 33 years working with a multi-national construction company before beginning his ministry with the Apostleship of the Sea in May.  
He chose to take early retirement when the company he worked for underwent a restructuring and that was when the opportunity to apply for AoS came about. 
            “It seemed to be God’s will and it was an exciting new venture.” Six months down the line, Doug describes his ministry providing pastoral and practical support to seafarers as much more satisfying. 
            “It’s a bit like Upstairs, Downstairs. Aberdeen is a rich port city which serves the many oil and gas companies. Some ships I’ve visited are like five star hotels and the crew are well catered for – they are happy just to see a friendly face.” However at the other end of the spectrum are ships whose crew really need our attention. This is where our ministry as port chaplains is crucial – whether it means offering seafarers a listening ear and praying with them or providing phone cards and clothing.” 

Apostleship of theSea's Aberdeen port chaplain Doug Duncan
Doug sees his appointment as God’s will.

             Doug recalls a memorable trip to Shetland back in June when he received an invitation from parish priest, Father Anil, asking if he would like to speak on behalf of Apostleship of the Sea on Sea Sunday“Following an eventful start to my journey where we had to change planes due to one of the engines over heating we eventually departed two hours late. I arrived and the island was basking in glorious sunshine. This of course lulled me into a false sense of security as on the Sunday morning travelling for an early Mass up to Voe where I gave one of the three talks on the island over the weekend, I realised how hazardous the land and seas are that surround this isolated Island travelling by car in fog and driving rain with high waves battering the shoreline. 
             “Thankfully it wasn't all work and I managed to visit the ruins of the Chapel on St Ninian's Island famous for treasure which was uncovered in the late 1950's. Some of these artefacts are held in the National museum in Edinburgh with replicas in the local museum in Lerwick which I took an hour out of my busy schedule to visit.” 
             Doug is now working to put a team of ship visitors together in Shetland and also building a team in the MacDuff, Fraserburgh and Peterhead ports. He enjoys walking and is active is his parish during the week and weekends, as well as being a hospital volunteer where he takes communion to Catholics at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Hospital.