Pope Francis has addressed the Regional Coordinators of the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) who are meeting in Rome this week.
At his General Audience in the Vatican the Pontiff called on those who work for the wellbeing of seafarers and the families to “be the voice of those workers who live far from their loved ones and face dangerous and difficult situations.”
At the end of the audience he greeted Sr Mary Leahy, regional coordinator for Oceania and Fr Celestin Ikomba, regional coordinator for West Africa.
The meeting is organised by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, which coordinates the activities of AoS worldwide. The gathering will discuss the work of AoS worldwide and how to better communicate its ministry within AoS’ global organisation, to seafarers and to the wider Catholic community.
AoS Great Britain National Director Martin Foley told Vatican Radio in Rome the talks come out of AoS’ World Congress in November 2012 where about 400 delegates including port chaplains, national directors and volunteers, gathered to reflect on their ministry to seafarers.
Foley says this week’s meeting will be the first time that the Regional Directors elected at that Congress have come together to reflect on the challenges to their ministry.
“Some of the challenges we face include how to renew and adapt our ministry to seafarers, the people we serve. We need to constantly find ways to deepen our engagement with seafarers and to reassure seafarers of our presence and support, regardless of their faith,” he told Vatican Radio.
Full interview: media01.radiovaticana.va/audiomp3/00410306.MP3
The Apostleship of the Sea, AoS, is a registered charity and agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England & Wales and Scotland. It is wholly reliant on voluntary donations and legacies to continue its work.
90% of world trade is transported by ship, and more than 100,000 ships visit British ports each year. However the life of a modern seafarer can be dangerous and lonely. They may spend up to a year at a time away from home, separated from their family and loved ones, often working in harsh conditions.
AoS chaplains and ship visitors welcome seafarers to our shores – regardless of their colour, race or creed and provide them with pastoral and practical assistance. They recognise them as brothers with an intrinsic human dignity which can be overlooked in the modern globalised maritime industry.
For more information contact:
John Green, Director of Development: firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit apostleshipofthesea.org.uk