The Vatican has released a message marking Sea Sunday. This weekend nearly every church in the land will celebrate this special day. The head of the Vatican department for seafarers, Cardinal Hamao recalled 'the debt our society owes to these workers, as 'we depend on them' to ensure the transportation of almost everything we use or consume'. Despite the efforts of governments and organisations such as the Apostleship of the Sea, 'there are still many unresolved situations affecting the life and dignity of fishers and seafarers.' With 60% of seafarers coming from a Catholic background it has been disturbing for the Cardinal to get reports from port chaplains of their continued difficulties in getting to see seafarers. Cardinal Hamao concluded his message by assuring all those whose livelihoods depend on the sea of the Church's commitment and solidarity alongside them. Encouraging all those who minister to seafarers he quoted Saint Paul 'Don't let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good' (Rom 12:21). The Cardinal recommended Our Lady, Stella Maris as 'model and compass' to intercede for all seafarers and those who minister to them 'so that we may be protected from every risk and danger'. Sea Sunday on the second Sunday in July in most countries around the world and is promoted by organisations such as the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS). Commodore Chris York, AOS National Director said: " Sea Sunday is a great opportunity for the millions of people who will be in church this Sunday to be reminded of their dependence on seafarers". The Apostleship of the Sea has this year distributed nearly one million prayer cards and donation envelopes (image attached) to raise awareness amongst churchgoers. It has also provided material for children so that as many people as possible can support the vital work of supporting the welfare of seafarers. The Sea Sunday collection taken in Catholic churches means that the AOS is now active in 39 ports in England and Wales with 19 full time port chaplains and some 60 active ship visitors. AOS as a charity receives a major part of it's income from Sea Sunday collections. Look out this Sunday for Sea Sunday material in your parish church this Sunday. Source: AOS
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