Fishing guide

Mary, star of the sea, protects sailors and is a guide for all, bishop says

WASHINGTON — The congregation at the Maritime Day Mass in Washington on May 21 prayed for a “safe harbor” in the sky for sailors and other seafarers who died last year and for the protection of “our brothers and sisters.” who currently ply the waters aboard ships delivering goods to the world.

Bishop Brendan J. Cahill of Victoria, Texas, the principal celebrant and homilist of the Mass, said the church entrusts the care of all seafarers to Mary under one of her first titles – Star of the Sea.

She provides light in a storm for all and “sets a course through these times to reach our haven of peace in paradise…a safe haven,” he said in his homily, urging the faithful to always turn to her for advice and a source. of joy.

Mass was celebrated in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Sailors and Seafarers.

It was sponsored by the Stella Maris National Office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Stella Maris is the Catholic Church’s ministry to seafarers around the world. Its network of chaplains and volunteers offers spiritual care and various services to seafarers, fishermen, port personnel and their families.

Bishop Cahill is the episcopal promoter of Stella Maris in the United States.

Father Paul Hartmann, USCCB Assistant General Secretary, concelebrated the Mass. A priest in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, he was appointed to the position in February and joined the USCCB staff in mid-May.

Deacon Paul Rosenblum, Stella Maris Regional Coordinator and Port Chaplain in the Diocese of Charleston, SC, attended the mass.

In his homily, Bishop Cahill described St. Paul’s time at sea and how he depended on sailors and their hard work as he traveled “to the ends of the earth” to proclaim the good news. The apostle was also shipwrecked during a dangerous journey on the way to Rome. He and his companions were stranded on the Mediterranean island of Malta.

Paul had received a message from God that even if their ship perished, the group would survive, and just as they found a “safe harbor,” Bishop Cahill said, Jesus Christ “takes us to the safe harbor of eternal life. We are all urged to return home safely, and we pray that others may return home safely with Jesus Christ.

At the end of the Mass, Sister Joanna Okereke, National Ministry Director Stella Maris of USCCB, thanked the congregation for coming to the Maritime Day Mass, which is an annual liturgy, but this year was the first over the past two years. celebrated in person due to the pandemic.

Sister of the Servants of the Holy Child Jesus, she is assistant director of the pastoral care of migrants, refugees and travelers at the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity of the USCCB.

Noting that 90% of all world trade depends on merchant shipping, Sister Okereke said the presence of the faithful at Mass and their prayers mean a lot to “the people who do this important work.”

In addition, more than 1.25 million seafarers work on cruise ships and 41 million people live from fishing.

Formerly called the Apostleship of the Sea, Stella Maris originated in Scotland over 100 years ago.

Throughout the world, this Catholic apostolate helps seafarers meet their basic needs. Stella Maris Centers around the world arrange visits by clerics and other ministers to seafarers while in port.

Many of these centers have an on-site chapel for prayer services and mass for crew members. The centers also provide workers with a shuttle to take them to local malls, give them phone cards, and/or free use of a phone, computers, and the Internet.

They also have a lounge where crew members can watch television, read newspapers or magazines, play card games or simply relax.

“Stella Maris’ mission remains as clear today as the mast of a sailboat silhouetted against the rising sun: to reach out to sailors, fishermen, their families, all those who work or travel on the high seas and port personnel,” reads a brochure posted about the ministry on the USCCB website, usccb.org.

In every major country, a bishop serves as Stella Maris episcopal promoter, overseeing the work of the national director.

In the United States, Stella Maris Ministry is present in 53 seaports in 48 archdioceses and dioceses in 26 states. There are over 100 chaplains and pastoral teams made up of priests, religious deacons and lay ministers.