Pope Francis has sent a message to the 24th World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea which is taking place this week in the Taiwanese port city of Kaohsiung.
In the message, signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope says he hopes the congress will serve to strengthen all those who support people living and working at sea.
The meeting, from 1 October -7 October, is focused on challenges facing the fishing industries, in particular the plight of migrant fishermen.
The World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea is held once every four years but this is the first time that it takes place in Taiwan, which has one of the world’s biggest fishing industries.
Please find below the full text of the pope’s message:
President of the XXIV World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea
His Holiness Pope Francis sends cordial greetings and prayerful best wishes to the participants in the twenty-fourth World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea. In giving thanks to Almighty God for the many graces received through its work over many years, His Holiness prays that the bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful gathered for this significant Congress, will be strengthened in their support of all those who work at sea.
As you address the particular needs of those who labour in the fishing sector, Pope Francis hopes that Christians may recognize the valuable lesson we can learn from them, “about a Church which makes room for God’s mystery; a Church which harbours that mystery in such a way that it can entice people” and attract them to himself (cf. Address to the Bishops of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, 27 July 2013). In entrusting all seafarers and their families to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Stella Maris and Stella Matutina, His Holiness gladly imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State