"When we see the difficulties that maritime workers face, including fishermen and their families, it becomes increasingly clear that their problems need to be addressed with a complete understanding of all the facets and aspects that make up human beings. The effort has to be seen through the purified eyes of charity.”
The Pope then reminded chaplains whose ministry is out in the sea, that the ocean has always been a key factor in spreading the Gospel, which goes back all the way to the apostles.
As far as the challenges faced by those work and basically live out in sea, the Pope said that the Church needs to be attentive to their spiritual needs.
That's one of the reasons why the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, founded the Stella Maris centers, where those who live out on the sea, can seek help.
CARD. ANTONIO MARIA VEGLIO
President, Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant Peoples
"We have over 150 Stella Maris centers, where sailors can contact their families. These people are away for months and months. The conditions they are in are not always easy, since sometimes they don't receive their salary at the end of the month. These centers offer help to Catholics sailors and non-Catholics alike. Because regardless of their religion, people are people. It doesn't matter if they are Catholics, atheists, Muslims or of any other religion.”
In the last 30 years, this has been the largest conference organized by the Apostleship of the Sea. Worldwide, it's estimated that about 1 million people work and live out in the sea.
CTV / MG