In his homily during Mass to celebrate the Feast of Stella Maris, Bishop Burns noted that abuse, when it occurs in the shipping industry has its roots in a spiritual crisis, “It’s not that God has moved away from us. Quite the contrary: it's more likely that some people, including a number in the maritime world, have moved away from God”.
He noted that there are some in the maritime industry who "exploit the poor and the humble, where God-fearing people are unable to speak out for fear of losing their jobs, where abuse goes unreported, where wages go unpaid."
In this environment he paid tribute to AoS chaplains and ship visitors who "have to walk a delicate line between championing the cause of the underdog, as well as being the voice of the voiceless, and yet you must also try to avoid making matters worse by understanding the difference between intervening and interfering."
The Mass was part of the Stella Maris Feast Day and World Maritime Day celebrations. Two other Masses were held at the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist in Portsmouth and at St Aloysius church in Glasgow respectively on the 26th of September.
Bishop Philip Egan and Rev Roger Stone celebrate Mass at Portsmouth Cathedral. Photo by Sophie Stanes
In Portsmouth, Bishop Philip Egan highlighted the work of AoS in providing spiritual, pastoral and practical support to seafarers in and around the ports in the diocese. “In this they perform a truly evangelistic work, seeking to help those in need far from home, regardless of their religion.”
Bishop Egan observed that travel by sea, even in today’s massive ships with their impressive technology, can still be fraught with danger. “The image of a ship sailing the high seas is a symbol dear to Catholics, who traditionally call the Church the Barque of Peter, sailing through the storms of life. We pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit to help seafarers find a real, personal friendship with Jesus Christ, or at least through practical help given, to discover the sure way to Him.” (You can download and read a copy of his homily using this link)
In Glasgow, where AoS was founded in 1922, around 150 people attended the Mass at St Aloysius, the spiritual home of AoS. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Peter Moran and the choir from the school of St Aloysius sang at the Mass.
You can view more photographs of our Stella Maris Feast Day celebrations by following this link.