Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that caring for seafarers is a "profoundly Christian thing to do".
astonishing percentage of the things sold in our shops in the UK arrives
by sea, underlining our dependence on those who work on these ships. To
care for them is a profoundly Christian thing to do. It is also very
important for the wellbeing of the country," he said.
Cardinal Nichols was speaking at a reception organised by seafarers'
charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) at Westminster Cathedral's Throne
Room on September 22nd.
Speaking about AoS' ministry, and remembering
his visit to Tilbury Docks in June 2015, the Cardinal said, "I must
admit what I saw of the work of the chaplains at Tilbury was enormously
impressive. For many of the ships, the support from port chaplains is
hugely important in terms of seafarers' religious belief and practice.
Really this is great work that goes on."
AoS, a registered charity and agency of the Catholic Bishop
Conference of England & Wales, has port chaplains in Tilbury as well
as in 40 other ports up and down Great Britain who visit seafarers on
board their ships to offer pastoral and practical support.
Cardinal Nichols recalled growing up on the north side of Liverpool,
and how the Apostleship of the Sea was very much part of his family's
"As a boy, one of the things that used to enthral me was seeing the
big ships leaving the port of Liverpool. I could in those days rattle
off the names of the major shipping companies, and the colours of their
funnels, and tell where they'd come from and where they'd gone to."
Prior to the reception, a Mass was held at the Cathedral to pray for
seafarers and to mark the feast of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Stella
Maris. Mass was celebrated by Bishop Nicholas Hudson and attended by AoS
supporters, volunteers and head office staff.