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AoS Stella Maris Mass 2015
30th September 2015
A Mass to pray for seafarers and for the ministry of Catholic seafarers charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) was celebrated in St George’s Cathedral, London on September 24. The Mass was also held to commemorate the feast of Stella Maris, Our Lady Star of the Sea, AoS’ patron saint.
Main celebrant Bishop Tom Burns SM, who is AoS’ Bishop Promoter, said in his homily that the work of AoS is to encourage seafarers to grow stronger in their faith, and to live fully human lives.
He said seafarers are called by God to be truly themselves and have to be strong in what they believe and in whom they believe.
Bishop Tom added, “The ensuing drama of life helps the seafarer to learn how to notice the movement of God in all that happens and to respond to it, and to Him, with wholehearted generosity. AoS is there to help him find God in the events of daily life: the joys and the sorrows, the successes and the failures, the pleasures and the hardships, the kindnesses and the cruelties.”
His homily echoed the words of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who highlighted the work AoS does to support seafarers during a visit to the port of Tilbury in Essex in June this year.
“This is important work and clearly valued by all those crews served by the chaplains and volunteers,” the Cardinal said during his visit.
Bishop Tom said what God is asking of the seafarer every day is that he becomes holy wherever he is. This means knowing God is present, which leads on to respecting other human beings, because God resides in them too.
Likewise AoS port chaplains, ship visitors, volunteers and staff also need to acknowledge God is present, and to respect other human beings.
“He or she is to be an example of God’s love, expressing it and sharing it. It is the AoS worker’s role to experience and to share with others the gift of God’s boundless love, compassion, and mercy in everything that happens,” said Bishop Tom.
Bishop Tom Burns SM celebrates Mass at St George's Cathedral Southwark
In Portsmouth, a Mass was held at St John's Cathedral on September 23. Cathedral Dean Canon Dominic Golding was the main celebrant and AoS’ Portsmouth port chaplain Reverend Roger Stone preached during the homily.
Canon Golding, who was born and raised in neighbouring Southampton, said AoS had been his first employer, giving him his first job pulling pints at the Stella Maris seafarers centre.
“AoS taught me about hospitality. It brings the true face of Christ to the seafarers it supports,” said Canon Golding during Mass.
During the homily Roger shared three incidents in which he and his team of volunteers assisted seamen in need.
“It was each and every one of you, through the AoS, who helped those men,” he said to the congregation who comprised AoS ship visitors, parish contacts, volunteers, supporters and parishioners from the diocese.
A lunch reception was held after Mass.
More photos of the Mass at Southwark can be seen on our Flickr site here while photos for the Mass in Portsmouth can be viewed here.
Canon Dominic with Rev Roger Stone, AoS chair of trustee Rev Stephen Morgan and Fr Claro Conde
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