Catholic charity Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) extended a hand of friendship and support to seafarers from Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday bombings in the country.
On North Tees, in Hexham & Newcastle Diocese, AoS Port Chaplain Deacon Peter Barrigan and Ship Visitors Hugh and Mary Ward held a service on board the tanker B Gas Maud on the night of April 24.
On board were two Sri Lankan seafarers, whose communities back home had been affected by the bombings.
Although they are Buddhist, one of the men and his wife regularly went to St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, well-known as a place of worship open to all religions.
“The seafarer’s wife was due to go to the church on Easter Sunday but decided, at the last minute, not to do so that day,” said Deacon Peter.
Deacon Peter and Hugh and Mary also supported six Filipino crew members from the same ship who had asked for prayers after two earthquakes struck the region earlier this week.
Buildings, including churches were destroyed by the earthquake and many people are injured and missing.
“We spoke and prayed with the crew who had been at sea when the attacks occurred. Readings and prayers both Christian and Buddhist were read out. The men were upset about what had happened and anxious to contact their loved ones back home. We brought along a book of Buddhist Psalms which they read from. This gave them great comfort,” Deacon Peter said.
“It was an anxious time for the seafarers on board but in the midst of the stress and worry, we were able to provide some comfort to them from our visit and the service on board,” he added.