Mass celebrated in memory of sailors lost at sea, other sailors and their families

WASHINGTON (OSV News) – In anticipation of the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Seafarers and Seafarers on May 22, Bishop Brendan J. Cahill of Victoria, Texas, celebrated Mass May 20 at Washington to remember the sailors who have lost their lives at sea and to pray for all who work at sea and their families.

“We pray for the men and women on the seas today, that they may find safe passage and safe harbor…and know our love and support every day,” the Bishop said in his homily during of the mass he celebrated in the church of the crypt. of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Bishop Cahill is the Bishop Promoter of Stella Maris, the Catholic Church’s Apostleship of the Sea, whose chaplains and other pastoral workers reach out to seafarers, fishermen, dockworkers, workboat operators, cruise ship passengers and crew and their families.

He was attended at Mass by Deacon Paul Rosenblum, Port Chaplain for the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina.

The Catholic Church’s National Day of Prayer for Seafarers falls on the same day as National Maritime Day in the United States, which recognizes the maritime industry.

In his homily on the reading of the Gospel of the day from the first chapter of Luke, Bishop Cahill reminded the assembly of the power of Mary’s “yes” to God to become the mother of Jesus Christ his Son.

“What does this mean for us today?” asked Bishop Cahill. “Mary said ‘yes’ to God, and because of her ‘yes’, all human history has changed. The victory is won. Our Savior was born and suffered and died and rose from the dead (for) the salvation of mankind. …Mary teaches us that the heart purified by the contemplation of God is more powerful than guns and weapons of all kinds.

The bishop also spoke about one of Mary’s central messages to the shepherd children of Fatima, Portugal, to whom she appeared six times in 1917, with the first appearance on May 13 of that year. “My Immaculate Heart will prevail,” she told them as revealed in the Third Secret of Fatima, officially released by Saint John Paul II in 2000.

Bishop Cahill recounted how a year after Saint John Paul II was shot in 1981 by a would-be assassin on the May 13 feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the pontiff traveled to Fatima to thank Mary . “He believed his maternal love was safe from the assassin’s bullet,” Bishop Cahill said. The pope gave the shrine one of the bullets that hit him to encase him in the crown of his statue at Fatima.

“We pray for ourselves that our hearts will be purified by the contemplation of God, (that we) see the beauty of God in every human person we meet, lifting them up and sustaining them to the mercy of God on this earth and beyond,” the bishop said. said.

“We pray that God will bless each of us that we may have the hope of eternal life and that we (experience) the forgiveness of sins from a merciful God, and (that) our friends and families inherit the promise of the resurrection,” he added. .

After his homily, he recognized representatives of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association of Massachusetts who were in the congregation, including Angela Sanfilippo, executive director of the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership.

Bishop Cahill also noted that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the ministry of the apostolate on board cruise ships, where men and women minister to passengers and crew.

Before the end of Mass, Sr. Joanna Okereke, National Director of the Apostleship of the Sea/Stella Maris at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, thanked the congregation for coming to Mass. Sister of the Servants of the Holy Child Jesus, she is assistant director for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers at the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity of the USCCB.

The Apostleship of the Sea was conceived and developed in Glasgow, Scotland, as a Catholic port ministry by a priest and two lay people in 1920. On the centenary of the founding of the ministry, it was officially called Stella Maris (Star of the Sea). Mary as Our Lady, star of the sea, is the patroness of the apostolate.

Apostleship centers around the world organize visits by clergy and others ministering to seafarers while in port.

In the United States, the 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, deacons, religious and lay ministers.

In November 2022, Bishop Cahill toured and toured the Stella Maris Seafarer Center in Baltimore as well as the Port of Baltimore to show his support for the chaplains, port superintendent, and volunteers caring for the spiritual and other needs of seafarers.

“Our Port Ministers inspire us all with their dedication and love for our seafarers and our families. This was especially powerful for me as I heard the care and love our chaplains showed for some sailors stranded at sea or those who have recently passed away,” he said in a statement about his visit released. by the USCCB.

More information is available at: http://www.usccb.org/stellamaris.

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