Pope Francis has conveyed his appreciation and encouragement to seafarers and fishermen worldwide.
Underlining our dependence on the maritime industry, he said, “Without sailors, the global economy would come to a standstill; and without fishermen, many parts of the world would starve.”
The Pope was addressing seafarers’ charity Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) European national directors, chaplains and volunteers today during a Papal Audience in Rome. They met earlier in the week for their Regional Meeting.
Pope Francis noted many seafarers and fishermen worked for lengthy periods of time, away from home and their families. Yet many of their lives are “not only marked by isolation and distance, but at times painfully affected by shameful experiences of abuse and injustice”, he said.
These injustices include human trafficking, forced labour, not being paid their rightful salaries and abandonment; as well as human threats such as piracy and terrorism.
Pope Francis commended the work of Stella Maris chaplains and volunteers who offer support to seafarers and fishermen by “listening to them and to their material and spiritual needs.”
In concluding his address, Pope Francis called on the delegates to persevere in their work, as AoS prepares to celebrate its centenary next at its 25th World Congress in Glasgow, Scotland where Stella Maris began.
“This anniversary will be an occasion to remember the past in order to discern the present and to look ahead to the future,” Pope Francis said.
*On Sea Sunday, July 14, churches will pray for and remember seafarers and fishermen and those who support them, including Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea).
Source: Apostleship of the Sea