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Apostleship of the Sea Sets Sail Again

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ARCHBISHOP Mario Conti of Glasgow was the chief celebrant last weekend at a Mass at St Aloysius in Garnethill in Glasgow to celebrate the re-launch of the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) chaplaincy service.

The re-launch comes after a merger of the Scottish Apostleship of the Sea with that of those in England and Wales.

A spokesman for AOS explained: “It was from St Aloysius Church in Glasgow, back in the 1920’s that AOS grew into an international ministry of the Church to seafarers.

“Scotland has had a great tradition of serving seafarers, with a strong Apostleship of the Sea over the years. Changes in shipping in the recent decades meant that a reinvigorated response to the needs of so many seafarers was required. It is therefore fitting to re-launch the ministry of AOS in Scotland.”

Meantime, the Catholic Church in Scotland is about to introduce new measures of pastoral care for seafarers.

 While the pastoral care of seafarers in any one port remains the concern of the particular parish priest in whose territory the port is, the AOS is looking at appointing either port chaplains or contact people who would liase between the sea faring community and the parish priest.

Three main pastoral areas have already been identified and named as Aberdeen, Grangemouth and Clydeport.

AOS in Scotland is changing emphasis away from the provision of hostels for seafarers and will concentrate on ship visiting, drop-in centres and sea-going chaplaincy.

In order to achieve this new ministry more effectively, it has joined up with its counterpart in England and Wales to form one entity for Great Britain.

Sunday, July 10, will be Sea Sunday, when parishioners across the country will be asked for their prayers and their financial help for this vital service to seafarers calling at our Scottish ports.

Bishop Peter Moran of Aberdeen, himself an enthusiastic sailor, has recently become Bishop Promoter in Scotland for the AOS.

Bishop Moran said: “Stella Maris Chaplain Fr Andrew Hosie, himself a marine engineer by trade, died aged 53 in 2002. Stella Mans director Mr Leo Gilbert is now elderly and unwell. Without their dynamism and leadership, the Scottish Apostleship of the Sea would not have been able to function so well and for so long.

“Now the Scottish bishops recently agreed to amalgamate AOS Scotland with AOS England and Wales to form a UK wide service.

“Many seafarers are away from home continuously for as long as nine or ten months. With modern ships, the turnaround time in port can be only a few hours. A friendly, understanding welcome from shore-based chaplaincy staff is an essential contact.

“As many as one hundred thousand contacts per year are possible in Scottish ports alone. This is a very specialised and very valuable apostolate.”

The Apostleship of the Sea was founded in Glasgow in 1922 and following a blessing from Pope Pius XI, it spread rapidly around the world. It started as a lay-led ship-visiting ministry to seafarers but, following an Apostolic Letter in 1958 it became part of the mainstream pastoral care of the Church. It is now part of the remit of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant Workers.

@ By Fr Paul Bonnici