Rare chance for seafarers to live faith
Seafarers arriving at the ports of Durban and Richards Bay were given the rare chance to live their faith when their ships docked at the ports.
Arrangements were made by Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) port chaplains so the men were able to celebrate Mass on the feast of the Most Holy Trinity.
In Durban, port chaplain Fr Herman Giraldo celebrated Mass on June 10th for nine members of the container ship Seroja Lima.
They had not been able to attend Mass or receive communion for about three months.
At the start of Mass, Fr Herman invited the men to put forward their prayer intentions – each one asked for prayers for their families at home and that God would protect them and keep them safe.
He said, “In my homily I spoke about the love of the Father, and the Love of the Son that is given to us in a Spiritual love, calling to mind the verse in scripture ‘I will not leave you orphans, I will send the Holy Spirit to be with you for ever’ (John 14:18)
“At the end of the homily I prayed for the protection of the Lord upon them and for the rest of the crew on board and blessed them with the sign of the Trinity. They were pleased and grateful to be able to celebrate Mass and practice their faith,” added Fr Herman.
In Richards Bay, AoS port chaplain Fr Bongani Xulu celebrated Mass for 20 seafarers from the ship Lunita on the same day.
“I also gave them rosaries, prayer books and other faith material for which they were very appreciative,” said Fr Bongani. He added the crew are due to return to Richards Bay at a later date and the ship’s captain has requested another Mass be said.
Many seafarers come from countries with a large Catholic population, such as Philippines, Poland and India; hence being able to live out their faith is important to them.
However many are unable to attend Mass and receive the sacraments regularly because of long voyages at sea, busy work schedules and short port stays.
By going out to ports and ships, AoS port chaplains in South Africa are able to reach out to those in the margins, including seafarers, just as Pope Francis encourages us to do.