Message for the Day of Seafarers 2021 The Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has des […]
Message for the Day of Seafarers 2021
The Paths of the Seas That Connect Life
– The Paths of Life that Seafarers Support –
We may not think about it each day, but many of the things that support our lives come to us over the sea. It is no exaggeration to say that the nations of the world are connected to each other by “the paths of the seas” (Psalm 8:9).
The Seas and Its Workers: One of Pope Francis’ Cherished “Peripheries”
Though the world of the sea and the human activities that take place there are attractive and valuable, fishers and seafarers face unique dangers that differ from land. In addition to facing the usual significant economic challenges, they especially feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most seafarers have not yet been vaccinated and are not allowed to go ashore and relax when they call at a port. Some have been forced to remain on board ship for 18 months, well beyond their contract period. Even while people’s activities on land were almost stopped, seafarers have continued to carry most of the goods the world needs, especially delivering medical supplies necessary for critically ill people all over the world.
Therefore, Pope Francis has expressed his special concern and gratitude to the people who work in harsh conditions at sea and has asked that we pray for them. The pope has called for even more pastoral service through the Apostleship of the Sea (Stella Maris). The organization has served seafarers since 1920, and currently serves about 300 ports worldwide, connecting chaplains in ports around the world with seafarers through the Internet.
Responding to the call of Laudato Si’
Various efforts are being made to protect the marine environment. These include efforts to soon reduce the dumping of pollutants from ships (for example, wash water from holds) and to develop fuels that do not pollute the air.
Plastic waste in the sea is another urgent issue. When it happens that fishhooks and nets catch plastic waste instead of fish, fishers must take that “catch” back to land rather than dumping it back into the sea. This situation in which we catch waste instead of fish is also the responsibility of each of us. We must not forget that most of the earth is water, and water makes possible the flourishing of all creatures, including us. Therefore, we must not leave responsibility to seafarers or fishers, but must all work together to restore a clean global environment as soon as possible.
O merciful God, bless seafarers and their families with your grace
and lead them to true happiness as they sail the seas of the world to support our lives.
The Mother Church responds to their spiritual and material needs.
For more than a century, priests, religious, and volunteer staff all over the world
have united as the Apostleship of the Sea to provide pastoral care to seafarers.
We ask your grace to continue this service.
Mary, Mother of God and Star of the Sea,
enfold seafarers and their families in your motherly love.
Though they are scattered across the globe, may they remain united in your Son Jesus
and protect and nurture their family ties. Amen.