The National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea will be celebrated May 22. The day is observed in conjunction with National Maritime Day in the United States of America, which has been celebrated since 1933 to honor those who serve as merchant mariners and to recognize the benefits of the maritime industry.
Bishop J. Kevin Boland, bishop emeritus of Savannah, Georgia and Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) promoter, encouraged dioceses to mark the national day by remembering the men and women of the sea in homilies and by including special petitions during Mass. When Mass is celebrated on May 22, the text for the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea, is encouraged.
“In a special way, let us remember those who have lost their lives at sea and those in dangerous situations,” Bishop Boland said.
Bishop Boland will celebrate a Mass in observance of Maritime Day on Sunday, May 20, at 10 a.m., in the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. The Mass is sponsored by the AOS national office and the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Last year, in his Angelus message on Sea Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI remembered the people of the sea and the hardships they and their families face.
“I address a special thought to the chaplains and volunteers who are doing their utmost for the pastoral care of seafarers, including fishers and their families,” the pope said. “I also assure the seafarers, who are unfortunately held hostage through acts of piracy, of my prayers. I hope they will be treated with respect and humanity, and I pray for their relatives, that they may be strong in faith and not to lose the hope of being reunited with their loved ones soon.”
Ninety percent of the world’s goods are transported by sea and the waterways. There are approximately 1.2 million seafarers worldwide in 10,000 commercial ships and maritime vessels.
AOS is a worldwide Catholic maritime ministry for the spiritual and practical assistance to seafarers, fishermen, their families and all those who work and travel by sea and the waterways. In the USA, AOS chaplains, associates and volunteers carry on this ministry in 58 maritime ports encompassing 48 dioceses.
There are a great number of people who participate in and benefit from this ministry. On the occasion of the National Day of Remembrance, individuals and chaplaincies have shared personal accounts of the impact and reach of this ministry through the USCCB- AOS site: http://www.usccb.org/aos. The stories are available at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/pastoral-care-of-migrants-refugees-and-travelers/apostleship-of-the-sea/aos-news-and-events.cfm.
The USCCB established the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea in 2005 to encourage Catholics in the country to support, remember and pray for merchant mariners/seafarers, fishermen, port personnel and those in the maritime industry.