Apostleship of the Sea port chaplains and ship visitors are making a difference to the lives of lonely merchant seafarers this Easter by giving them a chance to celebrate their faith at such an important time in their spiritual year.
They are bringing them a sweet treat and a taste of joviality – Easter eggs – as a gesture of thanks from the British community for all they do for us.
Seafarers bring us 95 per cent of all the goods we use and consume.
But as we enjoy the fruits of their labour, merchant seafarers are trapped inside their ships in port or at sea, many miles from home – out of sight and out of mind.
Indeed, for seafarers any festive period is much like any other time of year – the only difference being that their separation from family and friends and from their faith can be even more difficult to bear than usual.
This is where the Apostleship of the Sea steps in, visiting merchant ships and providing seafarers with some Easter cheer in the form of Easter eggs donated by the local community and also a chance to attend Mass if they wish it.
Seafarers often turn to the Apostleship of the Sea at Easter for pastoral and practical help, even on Easter Sunday itself.
Recognising that seafarers are often unable to practise their faith fully while at sea, Apostleship of the Sea teams make every effort to take Catholic seafarers to Mass on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, or arrange to have Mass celebrated onboard, so that seafarers can experience Easter as the important religious festival it truly is.
The Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) is a registered charity and agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England and Wales and Scotland. It is wholly reliant on voluntary donations and legacies to continue its work.
Ninety per cent of world trade is transported by ship, and more than 100,000 ships visit British ports each year. But 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.