Port Chaplains to Nourish Sailors’ Faith During Lent
Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) port chaplains in South Africa will help seafarers live out their faith during Lent as they visit the many crews arriving on ships in ports across the country.
In Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Richards Bay, AoS chaplains like Frs Herman Giraldo, Gerardo Garcia and Bongani Xulu will distribute ash on Ash Wednesday, provide materials to help sailors reflect on the meaning of Lent, and celebrate Mass on board ships.
Many Catholic seafarers, away at sea for long periods of time, sometimes up to a year, will not be able to share in the Lent and Easter services in a parish. Many come from regions such as the Philippines, Poland, Goa in India, and Indonesia, and cherish being able to attend Mass, especially during Lent.
Sacraments During Lent
Fr Giraldo, AoS Durban port chaplain, said that seafarers have few opportunities to meet a priest and receive the sacraments, making it all the more special that they are able to do so during Lent.
Fr Garcia, AoS port chaplain in Cape Town, agreed: “On several occasions when celebrating Mass, seafarers have said this has been the only chance to be at Mass for a long period of time. These are very special and joyous occasions for them.”
In his Lenten message in 2013, Pope Benedict XVI underlined the importance of being aware of and responding to spiritual hunger.
“Seafarers, while working on ships, are often unable to celebrate their faith as they would like. They do not have the opportunity to receive the sacraments as ports are usually far from towns and churches,” the now retired pope said.
AoS, an agency of the Church, relies on donations to support the faith and pastoral needs of seafarers.
AoS also needs volunteers to help carry out its ministry. Those interested can contact John Green at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations can be made by EFT—it is safe and minimises costs to donors and recipients. EFT contributions can be made to: Nedbank account name: The Apostleship of the Sea; account number: 1335047492 (cheque); branch code: 112205 (Malvern, Queensburgh). Please e-mail deposit slips or confirmations to email@example.com
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