Pope prays for seafarers on World Maritime Day

 World Maritime Day will be celebrated tomorrow. Last Sunday, Pope John Paul II, during the Angelus with pilgrims at his summer residence just outside Rome said: "This coming Thursday, the 30th September, we are to celebrate World Maritime Day, organised by the United nations. My thoughts go out to all who work at sea and I pray that they may be able to live with dignity and security." The Pope is kept informed of the maritime world and the Church's work alongside seafarers by the Rome office of the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) in the Vatican. AOS is present in 98 countries around the world and through it's port chaplains and volunteer ship visitors provides welfare services to seafarers of all creeds and supports Christian seafarers in their faith and equips them to evangelise in the maritime world. AOS in England and Wales is present in 34 ports and has taken on 8 new port chaplains in 2004, it's work is almost exclusively funded through the Sea Sunday collection taken up in Catholic parishes in July. Commodore Chris York National Director of AOS in England and Wales commented: "'We are delighted to hear these words of the Pope that echo the support of many Catholic churchgoers without whom the work of the AOS in supporting the faith and welfare of seafarers would be impossible" World Maritime Day is promoted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) an agency of the United Nations. This day highlights the role of seafarers and their families and the dependence of the world economy on them. For more information on the Apostleship of the Sea visit: www.stellamaris.net

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