Southampton Stella Maris Centre blessing

On February 28, we marked the establishment of our Southampton Stella Maris Centre with a liturgy and blessing. 
              Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth Diocese blessed the Centre based in St Joseph’s Church, Southampton. He also blessed a newly-commissioned Stella Maris Icon specially designed as we celebrate our Centenary this year. 
              St Joseph’s, a short walk from the port and the city centre, has always been closely linked with seafarers and now hosts an ideal base for Stella Maris and a comfortable pastoral centre to welcome seafarers in the Solent area. 
              In blessing the icon, Bishop Philip reflected on Our Lady as Star of the Sea, the steady guiding light for mariners and perpetual source of comfort and intercession. 
              He also spoke of the work of Chaplains and volunteers looking after the practical, welfare and spiritual needs of seafarers which can be likened to the role of a field hospital, taking immediate care of casualties. 
Bishop Philip blesses the Stella Maris Centre in Southampton
              Also attending the blessing were Martin Foley, Stella Maris CEO, Captain Esteban Pacha, Stella Maris Chair of Trustees and Fr John Lavers, Stella Maris Director of Chaplaincy.
              Joining in the celebration were Monsignor Canon Vincent Harvey Parish Priest for St Joseph’s and St Edmund’s Churches, Stella Maris chaplains, ship visitors, volunteers, supporters, members of clergy, Verbum Dei and Franciscan Missionary Sisters.
             The liturgy was followed by a reception which provided an opportunity for Bishop Philip to meet everyone. It was a great opportunity to share a wealth of stories and experiences. 
Stella Maris Chair of Trustees Dr Esteban Pacha, Stella Maris Executive Secretary Salvina Bartholomeusz and Stella Maris CEO Martin Foley with the new icon

(Words by Charles Stuart and pics by Paul Owen – Stella Maris Southampton ship visitors)

* More photos can be viewed on our Flickr site here.