The seagoing Catholic charity the Apostleship of the Sea has begun visiting ships docking at Shoreham in Sussex. More than 1,000 ships from all over the world visit the port each year. Around 60 per cent of their crews are Catholics - the majority who have come from poor countries, will be away from home on contracts lasting up to a year. A friendly visit from someone local in a foreign port is more than welcome. During the summer, Fr Patrick Foley, outhampton port chaplain, began preparing Patrick Byrne and John Boyden to work for the Apostleship of the Sea in Shoreham. Patrick, currently a social security officer, who lives in the Shoreham area, had in fact had been at sea for ten years and had previously worked for the Apostleship of the Sea in Ireland. Bishop Kieran Conry, whose diocese covers Shoreham Port said: " I am delighted that through the Apostleship of the Sea, ship visits in Shoreham Port will begin. Seafarers are amongst those for whom the Church has always had a special desire be alongside in their work and lives. It is particularly wonderful that Catholic seafarers visiting Shoreham will have the opportunity to receive the sacraments whilst in port." Ship visitors go on board ships to offer the hand of friendship to sailors far from home. They provide information about the local area and may help them contact loved ones back home. Should seafarers want to visit the town or need advice on churches and Mass times, the ship visitor can help arrange this.
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