A Mass to pray for seafarers and to commemorate the feast of Our Lady Star of the Sea was held in Our Lady of Victories Church on October 2.
Bishop John Wilson was the main celebrant at Mass which was organised by Catholic seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS). Monsignor Roger Reader and Fr David Burke concelebrated Mass.
AoS trustees, parish contacts, volunteers and supporters came together at the Mass to pray for seafarers who bring up to 95 percent of goods into the UK, from the clothes we wear to the foods we eat.
Prayers were also offered for the ministry of AoS which provides spiritual and practical support to seafarers.
In his homily, Bishop John spoke about his visit to the Port of Immingham in 2012 when he was then Administrator of the Diocese of Leeds, and celebrated Mass for the Filipino crew of a Russian coal ship and blessed the vessel.
AoS Parish Contact Clifton and wife Elva with Bishop John and Fr David Burke. Photo: Sophie Stanes
“It was my first experience of the work of the Apostleship of the Sea and the memory of that day, and the people I met, remains with me.
“Only during that visit was I struck, really for the first time, by the harsh conditions endured by so many seafarers. Often away from their homes and families for long periods, the reality of their isolation brought home the importance of faith and friendship, two essential dimensions of chaplaincy to those working at sea.”
Bishop John said that this enormous international seagoing workforce has an important claim on the Church’s care and advocacy.
“As the Lord Jesus first called fishermen into his friendship, so today the Apostleship of the Sea reaches out.”
He added it was appropriate that during the Mass we commend AoS’ ministry to the prayerful intercession of Our Blessed Lady Stella Maris, Star of the Sea.
“Mary, the guiding star, witnesses that the Lord is with us, even in the storms of life when the waters are choppy. She encourages us to hold a steady course, naming Jesus as our Saviour.”
* More photos available on Flickr here.