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sea sunday message 2014

Apostleship of the Sea

Pontifical Council For The Pastoral
Care For Migrants And Itinerant People

Sea Sunday Message
(13 th July 2014)


Throughout the history   of mankind , the sea  was the   place where routes   of explorers and   adventurers intersected, and   where battles   determined the   rise and fall   of many nations .  But   it   is, above all , a privileged place  for exchange of goods   and global trade .  Actually, over   90% of merchandises   worldwide   are   transported by   nearly 100,000 ships , that unrelenting, are  sailing   from one end   of the world to the other,   run by   a workforce of   approximately 1.2   million seafarers   of all races , nationalities and  religions.

During this  Sea Sunday ,  we are invited to   become aware of the   hardships   and difficulties   that seafarers   face   daily and  of  the valuable   service provided   by the Apostleship   of the Sea   in being   Church who   bears witness of the Lord’s   mercy   and tenderness in order to preach the Gospel   in the ports  of  the whole world.

Due to a   number of factors related   to their profession , seafarers  are   invisible to us and to our society.   As we celebrate   Sea Sunday , I wish to  invite   every Christian   to look around   and   realize   how many  of the  objects we use   in our daily lives   have come to us   through the hard   and   laborious work   of seafarers.

If   we observe their lives carefully ,  we immediately realize   that  they are  certainly  not as  romantic   and   adventurous   as sometimes  is  shown   in films and   novels.

The life   of seafarers   is   difficult   and dangerous.  In addition to having to face   the rage and   power of nature,   that   often   prevails   even upon the   most modern and technologically   advanced   ships   (according to   the International Maritime Organization   [ IMO]  in 2012,   more than 1,000   seafarers   have died   as a result of   shipwrecks,   maritime   collisions , etc.), we should not forget  the risk   of piracy, which   is never   defeated  it  but is transformed   in   new and different ways   and  is  manifested in many maritime routes,   and also the danger of   criminalization   and abandonment   without wages ,  food and protection   in foreign ports.

The sea , the ship  and the port are   the universe   of   life   of seafarers.   A ship  is  economically viable   only   when sailing   and, therefore ,  must continually   sail from   one port to another .  The  mechanization of cargo-handling operations has   reduced the time  of berthing  and the free time of crew members , while  security measures   have restricted   the   opportunities to   go ashore .

Seafarers do not   choose their   companions of journey.   Each crew is   a microcosm   of people from different   nationalities, cultures and   religions ,  forced to live   together in the   limited area   of a ship   for the duration   of the contract,   without any   interest   in common , communicating with  an idiom   that often   is not the irs .

For seafarers loneliness and   isolation are   traveling companions .  By its nature , the work of  seafarers   bring them to be   away, even for long   periods, from their   family environment .  For   the crews   is not always   easy  to  have access to  the  numerous technologies   (telephone,   wi-fi,   etc.) for contacting family   and friends.   In most   cases ,  children are born   and   grow up  without  their presence , thus increasing  the sense of loneliness   and   isolation   that   accompanies their   life.

The Church, in   her maternal concern,   for over   ninety years has been   providing her   pastoral care   to the   people of the sea   throughout the  Work of the Apostleship of the Sea.
Every year   thousands of seafarers   are welcomed   in ports ,  at   the  Stella Maris  Centers ,  distinctive places   where   seafarers   are   warmly received , can  relax away   from the ship   and contact   family members   using   different means of   communication  made  available to them .
The volunteers   daily visit   seafarers   on ships, in   hospitals   and those who are   abandoned in foreign ports , ensuring  a word of consolation   but   also   concrete support   when needed.  
The chaplains   are   always available to   offer   spiritual assistance   ( celebration  of the Eucharist,   ecumenical prayers , etc.) to seafarers  of all nationalities   who are in need , especially  in times of difficulty   and   crisis.  
Finally, the   Apostleship of the Sea   gives voice to   those who   often   have no voice , denouncing  abuses and   injustices , defending  the rights of the   people of the sea   and asking to the maritime industry   and  to the  individual governments to   respect   international Conventions .

While ,  during this Sea Sunday , we express our  gratitude to all those   who work   in the maritime industry ,  with a   trusting heart we ask Mary,  Star of the Sea  to   guide, enlighten   and protect the   sailing   of the whole   people of the sea   and support   the members of the  Apostleship of the Sea  in their pastoral ministry .



                                                        Antonio Maria Cardinal Vegliò
                                                         President


                                 
X  Joseph Kalathiparambil
                                      Secretary



Postal Address:
Abbazia S. Maria di Finalpia
17024 Finale Ligure Pia (SV) Italy
Telephone +39 019 602 301  Fax: +39 019 604 9940
updated 22 September 2019
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