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Seafarers at work (Vatican News)

In a message for the international celebration of Sea Sunday, Cardinal Michael Czerny writes that seafarers experience the “boundless beauty” of the seas, as well as their “physical, spiritual, and social darkness”. Source: Vatican News.

The global Church celebrates Sea Sunday annually on the second Sunday of July, praying and advocating for seafarers. The Church in Australia will make Sea Sunday over two Sundays, July 21 and 28.

In his message, the head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development reflects on the forgotten labour of seafarers.

Cardinal Czerny begins by noting that the total number of those involved in the shipping industry – from ship crews to dockworkers, the coastguard to customs agents – is in the millions.

It is through the “hidden efforts” of these workers, Cardinal Czerny writes, that many of our daily necessities reach us.

And yet, he says, “Today as well as in the past, seafaring can entail absence from home and land, for months and even years. Both the seafarers and their families may miss significant moments in the other’s life.”

In addition, Cardinal Czerny says, many seafarers are “threatened by injustices, exploitation, and inequality”.

Cardinal Czerny discusses the Church’s pastoral ministry to seafarers – Apostleship of the Sea or Stella Maris – which is present in hundreds of ports worldwide.

This “ministry of the sea”, the Cardinal writes, can “help to bring the peripheral into the centre” in many ways: by “encountering the people of the sea in person and in prayer; improving the material and spiritual conditions of labourers; advocating for the dignity and rights of workers; and championing strengthened international relations and policies”.

More information about Australia’s celebration of Sea Sunday will be published in tomorrow’s CathNews.


Cardinal Czerny: Seafarers face ‘injustice, exploitation, and inequality’ (By Joseph Tulloch, Vatican News)