The Head of Filipino chaplaincy in Rome celebrated Mass for more than 80 crew and Officers of the cruise ship Boudicca when the vessel docked in Civitavecchia on June 9, 2018.
Fr Ricky Gente celebrated Mass on board the Fred. Olsen ship on the Feast of the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Fr Bruno Ciceri, Vatican International Coordinator for Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) concelebrated.
This was the first time Catholic Mass has been celebrated for the crew on board a Fred. Olsen ship and the crew were delighted.
After Mass, the clergy spent time with the crew in the crew mess. The pastoral visit to Boudicca was organised by AoS, the Catholic Church’s maritime agency which supports seafarers’ spiritual, pastoral and practical needs.
Fr Bruno presented Captain Mikael Degerlund, Master of Boudicca, with the Crest of the Apostleship of the Sea and the Captain presented Fr Bruno with the ship's crest.
Captain Degerlund receives the AoS crest from Fr Bruno
In his homily, Fr Ricky preached about our Christian vocation to answer the Lord's call to respond to his invitation to live the Christian life no matter what age we are.
He stressed that young people, like so many of the crew attending the Mass, are the future of their country. And, through their work, they are providing a future for others.
Also on board was Rev Roger Stone BEM, AoS Great Britain Senior Regional Port Chaplain (Wales and West Country). Roger said, “I can say how important it is that the crew are able to practise their faith and it was especially poignant to see the joy on everyone's faces on the occasion of a special pastoral visit from the Vatican.
“We spent time with the crew in the crew mess. On a tour of the ship many passengers commented how wonderful it was that something special was arranged for the crew,” he added.
Fr Ricky with some crew members
Crew members described the pastoral visit as "an amazing experience". One crew member said he had felt very low in the morning because of problems at home, but after the pastoral visit he felt at peace.
Captain Degerlund said, "We were honoured to welcome the Vatican pastoral visit on board Boudicca in Civitavecchia over the weekend and to receive the Crest of the Apostleship of the Sea.
"It was a very meaningful visit, particularly for our crew members who have grown up in the Catholic faith. We were pleased to give them time off to celebrate Mass, as we know how important that it is for them, especially as the service was conducted by priests coming from the Vatican.
"For many of our crew members, being far from home, often for long periods of time, this kind of activity – where they can practise and celebrate their faith – was most welcome and appreciated on board Boudicca."
Fr Bruno expressed his gratitude to AoS in the UK for arranging the visit with Fred. Olsen and Boudicca.
Rev Roger with a crew member