Bishop Terence Drainey commissioned ship visitor Keith Rodgers, 74, during a special Mass held in St Charles Borromeo in October to commemorate the feast of Our Lady Star of the Sea.
Keith has been a ship visitor with Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) since 2012 and goes on board ships arriving in the ports of Hull and Goole to support seafarers.
The Mass was attended by all the Apostleship of the Sea Chaplains from the North East region, their volunteers, supporters and local parishioners.
In May 2016 Keith supported a 22-year-old Indian seafarer who had sustained injuries at sea. The seafarer was hospitalised, and Keith visited him in hospital almost every day and sometimes twice a day.
Keith put into action Apostleship of the Sea’s local ‘emergency plan’ and gave the seafarer a mobile phone so he could contact his parents who initially had no real knowledge of what had happened to their son.
During many hours together Keith and the injured seafarer spoke about the young man’s hopes and aspirations and helped to encourage him in his positive outlook. He left hospital in much better spirits.
Nearly 70 percent of seafarers are estimated to be Catholic, coming from places like the Philippines, Poland and Goa. Apostleship of the Sea network of port chaplains, ship visitors and volunteers provide spiritual and practical assistance to seafarers by being a friend in port.
Apostleship of the Sea celebrates its centenary in October next year, which kicks-off with its 25th World Congress in Glasgow where it was founded. Watch a welcome video at https://youtu.be/5Jazc5ObbqI