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XXIV AoS World Congress: A Reflection

13th November 2017

AoS Cape Town port chaplain Fr Gerardo Garcia writes about his experience attending the XXIV AoS World Congress in Taiwan. 
             I would like to thank you for the great opportunity you gave me on attending XXIV AoS World Congress in Taiwan from 1st to 7th October, 2018. Each day was filled with very good presentations on the topics regarding fishermen 'Caught in the net ' of cheap labour, human trafficking and slavery, sometimes happening just in front of us as we carry on with our ministry. 
             The Congress gave me the awareness and tools I needed to better detect these abuses and to denounce them at the right channels in my area. 
             Equally as important was the opportunity to interact and share with chaplains and people from AoS’ network from 57 countries.
Fr Gerardo Garcia Apostleship of the Sea port chaplain in Cape Town
Fr Gerardo   
             I realised how much our twinning with AoS Great Britain has been a blessing.  It's about "to be helped in order to help". I also realised through our group discussions at the Congress that we in South Africa need to take advantage with this wonderful experience of the twinning with UK, to get as many skills as we could get in order to have better efficiency and an organisation that is a key to promote professional AoS service to seafarers. 
             Finally, our Eucharistic celebrations and liturgies enabled us to renew our motivations which need to be always in the same Spirit that our Lord has bestowed us as a Catholic organisation dedicated to serve and to promote dignity and respect of fishermen and seafarers within that same Spirit which unite us all. 
             I thank Fr. Bruno (Ciceri from AoS Rome) and team, as well as John Green and Martin Foley (from AoS Great Britain) for organising the event and for their generous service at the Congress, as well as those who were busy working behind the scenes to make it a success (Jonathan Heard and others). 
             I hope to have the opportunity to participate in our next World Congress 2020 (in Glasgow) to keep renewing our commitment to serve as a member of our AoS family.
AoS World Congress 2017 in Taiwan Opening Mass

Read more: AoS leads action against slavery at sea