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Nourishing seafarers' faith during Lent

11th January 2018

Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) port chaplains in South Africa will help seafarers live out their faith during Lent as they visit the many crews arriving on ships in ports across the country. 
              In Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Richards Bay, AoS chaplains Fr Herman Giraldo, Fr Gerardo Garcia and Fr Bongani Xulu will distribute ash on Ash Wednesday, provide materials to help them reflect on the meaning of Lent and celebrate Mass on board ships. 
              Many Catholic seafarers who are away at sea for long periods of time, sometimes up to a year, will not be able to share in the Lent and Easter services in a parish.
              Many come from the Philippines, Poland, Goa in India and Indonesia, and truly cherish being able to attend Mass, especially during Lent. 
              AoS Durban port chaplain Fr Herman says seafarers have few opportunities to meet a priest and receive sacraments, making it all the more pertinent that they are able to do so during Lent. 
              “On several occasions when celebrating Mass, seafarers often comment that this was the only chance to be at Mass for a long period of time. These are very special and joyous occasions for them,” says Fr Gerardo, AoS port chaplain in Cape Town. 
AoS Cape Town port chaplain Fr Gerardo Garcia meets crew members on their ship     
In his message for Lent in 2013, Pope Benedict XVI underlined the importance of being aware of and responding to spiritual hunger. 
              “Seafarers, whilst working on ships, are often unable to celebrate their faith as they would like. They often do not have the opportunity to receive the sacraments as ports are usually far from towns and churches,” he said. 
AoS Durban port chaplain Fr Herman Giraldo             
AoS relies on donations to be able to continue nourishing and supporting the faith and pastoral needs of seafarers. The easiest way to make a donation in South Africa is by Electronic Fund Transfer. It is safe and minimises costs to you and to us. (Credit cards are discouraged as they are currently an expensive option).  
              EFT contributions can be made to:
              Account Name: The Apostleship of the Sea
              Account number: 1335047492
              Account type: Cheque Account
              Bank name: NEDBANK 
              Branch Code: 112205 – Malvern, Queensburgh.
              Please email deposit slip or confirmation to john.green@stellamarismail.org 
              AoS also needs volunteers to be able to carry out its ministry. Volunteering for AoS will offer the opportunity to help seafarers in need. Those interested can contact John Green at john.green@stellamarismail.org