Apostleship of the Sea chaplains, ship visitors, parish contacts and supporters braved the damp and windy weather to come together on Saturday 11th June 2016 for the 13th annual AoS pilgrimage to Holy Island.
The gathering was led by the Rt Rev John Arnold, Bishop of Salford who joined around 200 pilgrims from all parts of the north east, and beyond.
They assembled just opposite St Cuthbert's island at about 12.30pm, for the now traditional 'Celtic Prayer on the Beach'. This has become a very popular feature and sets the tone for the remainder of the day.
Mgr Ronnie Brown (former AoS trustee and former Navy chaplain) led the prayers, with other readers taking turns, to pray for our Bishops, seafarers, those who suffer, the dead, and for peace.
At 3pm, Mass was held in the church of St Mary the Virgin. The principal celebrant was Bishop John whilst Mgr Ronnie Brown concelebrated, assisted by AoS Tees port chaplain Deacon Peter Barrigan, Fr Nick Jennings from Hartlepool, Fr David Phillips from Berwick upon Tweed, Fr Tony Hogarth and Fr Timothy Forbes-Turner.
In his homily Bishop John reminded all present that each was called to be an apostle for Christ and those involved in AoS' ministry should always be aware of the value of being apostles of Christ to the seafarers they served.
After communion the congregation were treated to what has also now become something of a tradition with a Scottish piper who played Amazing Grace and Skye Boat Song.
AoS national director Martin Foley gave a short address, thanking pilgrims for joining the celebration and for their support.
This was followed by a presentation by Mgr Ronnie of a Papal blessing certificate to Terry and Anne Patchett on the occasion of their 50 years of marriage. Terry is also an AoS ship visitor for Tyne & Blyth.
Bishop John then blessed a beautiful painting of AoS' icon, Our Lady Star of the Sea, which was painted by AoS Hartlepool supporter Susan Atkinson.
The final hymn Eternal Father, Strong to Save, marked what was a special day of prayer and fellowship, as a build up to Sea Sunday on July 10th, where parishes around Great Britain pray for and remember seafarers for all they do.
Please support your church's Sea Sunday appeal. For more information see: www.apostleshipofthesea.org.uk