News

AoS helps crew live their faith

03rd March 2014
This Lent AoS port chaplains and ship visitors will be attending to both the spiritual and practical needs of seafarers; helping them communicate with loved ones, lending a listening ear, and also helping seafarers to live their faith. 
                   AoS chaplains are arranging for seafarers to receive the ashes on Ash Wednesday and providing materials to help them reflect on the meaning of Lent. Many Catholic seafarers who are away at sea for long periods of time, sometimes up to a year, will not be able to share in the Lent and Easter services in a parish.  Many of them are from the Philippines and Goa in India, and truly cherish being able to attend Mass, especially during this time. 
                   Our Immingham port chaplain Fr Colum Kelly says seafarers have few opportunities to meet a priest and receive sacraments.  “When I celebrate Mass in the seafarers’ centre, seafarers will often comment that it was their only chance to be at Mass for a year or more. I am regularly asked to celebrate Mass on ships and these too are very special and joyous occasions.” 

Fr Colum Kelly hands out holy communion to seafarers
Seafarers have f
ew opportunities to meet a priest and receive sacraments

                   Portsmouth and Southampton chaplain Rev Roger Stone, echoes Fr Colum. “I offer seafarers Christ in the form of Holy Communion, leading services on board whenever I’m asked.  For seafarers who are strong in their faith, being unable to receive Holy Communion is a real problem." 
                   “On one ship I went on I was thumbing through a Bible to select some readings and a couple of seafarers suggested some passages.  They didn't need a Bible. They knew the references.  They were far better at knowing their needs than I ever could be.”
                   In his Lenten message this year, Pope Francis reminds us of charity. He says, “Charity, love, is sharing with the one we love in all things. Love makes us similar, it creates equality, it breaks down walls and eliminates distances.” 
                   AoS, through its ministry, continuously ensure that seafarers and peoples of the sea are cared for and that their spiritual needs are looked after, by offering practical and spiritual assistance. ~ Additional text by Greg Watts
                   

Seafarers on board a ship receive ashes from Rev Roger Stone
Seafarers receiving ashes on board a ship from Rev Roger Stone