WASHINGTON—The National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of theSea will be celebrated on May 22. The day is observed in conjunction withNational Maritime Day in the United States of America, which has beencelebrated since 1933 to honor those who serve as merchant mariners and torecognize 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 tomark the national day by remembering the men and women of the sea in homiliesand by including special petitions during Mass. When Mass is celebrated on May22, 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 ofMaritime Day on Saturday, May 20, at 12:10 p.m., in the Crypt Church at theBasilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. TheMass is sponsored by the AOS national office and the U.S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops' (USCCB) Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church.
Apostleshipof the Sea (AOS) is a worldwide Catholicmaritime ministry that reaches out to seafarers, fishers, their families, portpersonnel 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 toseafarers who are often away from home for many months because of the nature oftheir work and lifestyle. A network of AOS port offices and Catholic chaplains providesspiritual and practical assistance that accommodate a seafarer's uniquelifestyle and needs.
Inthe United States, AOS is present in 53 maritime ports in 26 states, and in 48 dioceses.Priest chaplains, deacons, religious andlay people extend hospitality by providing a "home away from home" forseafarers. AOS has 10 Stella Maris centers, and over 100 chaplains and pastoralteams, including priests, religious, deacons and lay ecclesial ministersproviding many services including: Mass, communion, confession and othersacraments, assistance to seafarers in distress, ship visits, transportation tovisit business centers, a place to relax while on the port, computers withinternet connection at the center, cell phones and phone cards as well as facilitatingseafarers' access to services that others provide.
In his profound love of the sea and ministry to thepeople of the sea, Bishop Boland says, "the needs of the invisible and silentmerchant mariner, fisherman, seafarer spouse and retired seafarer to qualitypastoral care are as needed as an inner-city community needs a pastor who is agood community organizer, or a new subdivision needs a new parish…the CatholicChurch's ministry to the people of the sea is not a marginal ministry, but isan essential ministry of the Church." He encourages dioceses with maritimepersonnel to ensure that there is an active, viable Apostleship of the Seaministry, and to ensure that AOS port chaplains and pastoral agents have theproper training and support for this ministry.
More information is available at: http://www.usccb.org/aos.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Apostleship of theSea, AOS, Bishop J. Kevin Boland, seafarers, fishers, port personnel, people ofthe sea, merchant mariner, fisherman, maritime personnel, ministry, NationalMaritime Day
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