Global maritime charity Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) is working with P&O Cruises and Cunard to ensure their cruise ship workers who are isolating on ships off the South Coast of England during Coronavirus continue to receive pastoral support and care.
The charity’s Director of Chaplaincy Fr John Lavers said, “This is one way in which we are responding to their needs and we are grateful to the company who have approached us and encouraged us to provide this assistance which is most welcomed by cruise ship workers.”
Part of this outreach includes producing weekly video recordings of Sunday Gospel Readings, reflection and prayer conducted by the charity’s chaplains for the company’s cruise ship workers, offering a novel way of supporting their faith and pastoral needs during lockdown.
Stella Maris also organised for the head of Portsmouth Catholic Diocese to send a message of support and prayer for the cruise ship workers.
In a video recorded at St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth, Bishop Philip Egan said his thoughts and prayers were very much with them at this time of crisis.
“Many are in lockdown and we learnt that you too on ships are confined. I am very aware that many of you are here in England, a long way from your home and your families. As a Catholic community we are very conscious of this, and we want to express to you our love and promise of prayers for you; we pray for you all the time,” he said.
The video recording includes a prayer, scripture reading and Benediction and will be broadcast to the cruise ship workers social distancing on board.
Bishop Egan also said that he was proud to have the work of Stella Maris in the Diocese whose chaplains are supporting cruise ship workers and are looking out for them.
Stella Maris GB Chief Executive Martin Foley said the organisation was delighted to be working with Carnival UK and that this current outreach was an extension of a long-term partnership already in place with the cruise line.
Through its cruise chaplaincy programme, Stella Maris has, until the recent controls imposed due to the pandemic, been deploying chaplains on board the cruise ships to minister to the needs of crew and guests.
“Despite the ongoing Coronavirus restrictions, Stella Maris chaplains in Great Britain and around the world continue to provide support to seafarers, cruise ship workers and their families during this pandemic by working in close partnership the maritime industry, trades unions and others,” he said.