Message from Stella Maris Chair of Trustees at the launch of Centenary Year

Stella Maris Great Britain Chair of Trustees Dr Esteban Pacha

A message from Stella Maris Great Britain Chair of Trustees Dr Esteban Pacha on the occasion of Stella Maris’ Centenary Mass held in Glasgow on October 4th 2020.

Good afternoon, good morning and good evening to all those Stella Maris colleagues and friends from wherever you are following this live-streamed Centenary Mass.

On behalf of Stella Maris GB, I want to thank you for joining us to mark 100 years of ministry around the world, since our mission was started in the margins of river Clyde, here in Glasgow.

In this extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances, what a better way to start our Centenary Year than in prayer for seafarers, fishers and their families!

Therefore, special thanks to Archbishop Philip Tartaglia for hosting and celebrating this historic Centenary Mass, to remember those who preceded us, to pray for the people of the sea, and to inspire current and future chaplains, ship visitors  and associates, to do more to expand our maritime pastoral around the world and to the peripheries of the oceans.

Today, the work of the seafarers is more essential than ever, as international shipping transports more than 80% of global trade, including food and medicines, goods and energy, to peoples and communities all over the planet.

In addition, the millions of fishers working on board the fishing fleets on the oceans and in coastal communities, supply more than one third of world’s food.

On the occasion of this year’s Day of the Seafarer, and in his prayer intention for the last month of August, Pope Francis has twice paid tribute to the people of the sea, highlighting how their lives and their work have seen significant changes due to global pandemic, and recognising their sacrifices to maintain the flow of commerce and the supply of food. And the Pope has also said to seafarers that “they are not alone and will never be forgotten”.

These words have been indeed inspirational to seafarers, as they are also inspirational to all of us and to our mission, having the Pope also made an appeal, through the work of Stella Maris, “to continue with great vigour to support all those people who work upon the sea”.

This should be our commitment for this Centenary Year and the years to come:

To tirelessly continue providing now, more than ever, long-term support to seafarers, fishers and their families; as well as supporting global efforts to promote sustainable shipping and sustainable fishing sectors, thus enhancing welfare of those who work at sea, both today and into the future.

In as many languages I can, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Centenary Year, looking forward to having the opportunity to meet you in person, here in Glasgow, in a year time, on the occasion of our postponed 25th Stella Maris World Congress.