Pope Francis has urged Stella Maris to never waver in highlighting issues affecting seafarers, pointing out challenges faced by the maritime community in his address to the 25th World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea. Source: Vatican News.
Pope Francis sent a message to the participants in the congress taking place in Glasgow, Scotland from October 2-5.
The Pope noted that this first, in-person gathering since the outbreak of the pandemic would allow the attendees to fully celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Apostleship of the Sea and the 25th anniversary of St John Paul II’s motu proprio, Stella Maris, in which the norms of the apostolate were updated to better serve the needs of today’s maritime community.
Pope Francis said that that from “small and humble beginnings,” Stella Maris has grown into a widespread organisation providing “spiritual, psychological and material assistance, on ships and ashore, for myriads of seafarers and maritime personnel of diverse nationalities and religious traditions”.
Upholding the vital importance of the ministry of Stella Maris, the Holy Father acknowledged the impact of the pandemic on the difficulties associated with such isolation, and reiterated his message to the suffering seafarers, reminding them to “know that you are not alone and that you are not forgotten,” but are close to the Pope’s thoughts and prayers, as well as those of the chaplains and volunteers of Stella Maris.
The Pope noted that many maritime workers suffer from a variety of unjust working conditions and other deprivations, aggravated not least by the effects of climate change.
He expressed hope that Stella Maris will not waver in “drawing attention to the issues which deprive many within the maritime community of their God-given human dignity,” and in this way, continue its noble service of putting into practice the words of Jesus: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Pope encourages Stella Maris in apostolate to maritime community (By Benedict Mayaki, SJ, Vatican News)