Crew members from two cruise ships - P&O Ventura and Cunard Queen Victoria - had the unique opportunity to celebrate Mass in the Vatican on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8th.
Both ships were docked in Civitavecchia at the time, so Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) in the Vatican and AoS in Great Britain arranged for the 200-strong crew to celebrate Mass and to visit St Peter's Basilica.The crew were led in morning prayer en route to Rome, and upon arrival, entered St Peter's Basilica where they enjoyed a free guided tour arranged by HE Cardinal Angelo Comastri courtesy of the Vatican.After the tour, the crew celebrated Mass in St Joseph's Chapel inside the Basilica.
Father Bruno Ciceri, International Director for AoS in the Vatican, presided at the Mass and was assisted by Reverend Roger Stone BEM, Senior Regional Port Chaplain (Wales & West Country) of AoS Great Britain.Several members of the ships' crew provided the music, read the readings of the day and offered prayers in several different languages, in their mother tongues.In his homily Fr Bruno urged the crew to be witnesses to their faith; in their lives at home and on board the ships to both colleagues and guests. He invited everyone to keep Mary, Star of the Sea, as the guiding light for their lives.
After Mass, the crew enjoyed some time exploring the Basilica and St Peter's Piazza before returning to the ship.On behalf of the ships' crew, Elvis Dias gave a vote of thanks to HE Cardinal Angelo Comastri and AoS for arranging the day which, he said, would "remain in our hearts for the rest of our lives".
The Mass and visit was part of AoS' work supporting the spiritual needs of cruise ship crew members through its unique Cruise Chaplaincy ministry.
For more information about AoS' dedicated cruise chaplaincy visit: www.apostleshipofthesea.org.uk/cruise-chaplaincy
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