National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea

Tue, May 2nd 2017 02:00 pm
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON, DC - The National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea will be celebrated on May 22. The day is observed in conjunction with National Maritime Day in the United States of America, which has been celebrated since 1933 to honor those who serve as merchant mariners and to recognize the benefits of the maritime industry.

Bishop J. Kevin Boland, bishop emeritus of Savannah, Georgia, and Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) promoter, is encouraging dioceses to mark the national day by remembering the men and women of the sea in homilies and by including special petitions during Mass. When Mass is celebrated on May 22, the text for the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea, is also encouraged.

Bishop Boland will celebrate a Mass in observance of Maritime Day on Saturday, May 20, at 12:10 p.m., in the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. The Mass is sponsored by the AOS national office and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church.

Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) is a worldwide Catholic maritime ministry that reaches out to seafarers, fishers, their families, port personnel and all who work or travel on the high seas, regardless of race, color or creed. The maritime ministry shows the Church's care and concern to seafarers who are often away from home for many months because of the nature of their work and lifestyle. A network of AOS port offices and Catholic chaplains provides spiritual and practical assistance that accommodate a seafarer's unique lifestyle and needs.

In the United States, AOS is present in 53 maritime ports in 26 states, and in 48 dioceses.  Priest chaplains, deacons, religious and lay people extend hospitality by providing a "home away from home" for seafarers. AOS has 10 Stella Maris centers, and over 100 chaplains and pastoral teams, including priests, religious, deacons and lay ecclesial ministers providing many services including: Mass, communion, confession and other sacraments, assistance to seafarers in distress, ship visits, transportation to visit business centers, a place to relax while on the port, computers with internet connection at the center, cell phones and phone cards as well as facilitating seafarers' access to services that others provide.

In his profound love of the sea and ministry to the people of the sea, Bishop Boland says, "the needs of the invisible and silent merchant mariner, fisherman, seafarer spouse and retired seafarer to quality pastoral care are as needed as an inner-city community needs a pastor who is a good community organizer, or a new subdivision needs a new parish...the Catholic Church's ministry to the people of the sea is not a marginal ministry, but is an essential ministry of the Church." He encourages dioceses with maritime personnel to ensure that there is an active, viable Apostleship of the Sea ministry, and to ensure that AOS port chaplains and pastoral agents have the proper training and support for this ministry.

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