Mercy mission

Filipino seafarers arriving at Sunderland port have been getting much-needed help from Sister Mary Scholastica of the Sisters of Mercy, and a ship visitor with the Apostleship of the Sea. 
            Sr Scholastica and her team of volunteers have visited several ships with Filipino crews who have been particularly anxious about their families. “Their main concern has been communication and with that in view I have been able to buy sim cards and dongles to enable internet and phone connections.” she said. 
            Sr Scholastica was also very touched by the generosity of local parishioners. When she accompanied some of the Filipino seafarers to Mass at St Mary’s Church, many came to the crew to offer their sympathy, embraces and donations. The men were delighted with the friendliness and kindness of the people of Sunderland. 
            Indian Carmelite priest Fr Mariadass of the Sacred Heart Church in Sunderland celebrated Mass onboard a ship and afterwards enjoyed a meal with the captain and crew. He then consecrated the ship and its crew to the Sacred Heart and Our Lady for their protection and for the safety of their families back home. Other priests who have celebrated Mass on ships include Fr Kevin Dixon of St Mary’s Church and Sunderland-born Comboni Father John Clark. 
            The St Vincent de Paul Society and the Catholic Women’s League also came forward to help, as did the local Anglican Church of St Ignatius, which donated proceeds from its Harvest Festival. 
            As well as the material, social and spiritual support given to the seafarers, Sr Scholastica is collecting items to be shipped to the Philippines to assist in rebuilding the community after the devastation. Many parishioners have collected dried foods, children’s clothes, toiletries, drinking chocolate for the children, rice and lots more. 
            “This will have to continue for a long time,” said Sr Scholastica. “I am confident of the support of our generous friends, and I feel very blessed to have been given such help in this wonderful mission.”
             Thank you to all of you for your generous support towards our work supporting Filipino seafarers and fishing crew affected by Typhoon Haiyan. We have also received many messages of support and prayers. You can read them all and see for yourself the mission of our chaplains and ship visitors by visiting our Facebook Page.
Sr Scholastica and Fr Mariadass with a Filipino crew member
Sr Scholastica and Fr Mariadass with the ship's captain.