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Port chaplains going all out to bring Christmas to seafarers

Port chaplains going all out to bring Christmas to seafarers


For seafarers visiting ports this Christmas, it can be a lonely time, hundreds or thousands of miles from their families. For many, the sight of a port chaplain from the Apostleship of the Sea coming on board will be a welcome one.

‘In most ports there are always a handful of ships coming in on Christmas Eve or early on Christmas morning’ explains John Green, AoS Director of Development

‘On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day AoS port chaplains will visit as many ships as they can and take some small gifts, including warm clothing.’

The gifts and clothing are often given by local Catholic parishes. ‘The parishes start collecting these presents from November onwards’ says John Green.

Less than two months after the Typhoon in the Philippines the charity will be giving particular attention to Filipino crew, many of whom won’t be returning home at the end of their contract so they can work on to provide much needed money for families whose lives have been wrecked by the Typhoon.

Green continued ‘Many of the Filipino seafarers gather onboard for a special meal on Christmas Eve. It’s a way of staying connected to the tradition where the whole family gathers to celebrate and give thanks on Christmas Eve.’

AoS port chaplains also provide seafarers with internet top-ups so they can use the internet to contact their families back home.

AoS has also deployed chaplains onboard cruise ships over the Christmas period to support crew and also celebrate Christmas masses with crew and passengers.

Life at sea is far from glamorous, John Green emphasised. The pay can be low, the hours long, and the conditions on many ships cramped. And going to sea can be dangerous.

Christmas will be a busy time for the port chaplains and volunteer ship visitors of the AoS who will try and let seafarers know they are not forgotten and greatly appreciated for the sacrifices they make throughout the year.


-Ends-

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