National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea - May 22
From: Most Reverend J. Kevin Boland
Bishop Promoter of the Apostleship of the Sea
May 22nd is National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea. This day was designated and approved by the Bishops’ Conference on November 14, 2005 to encourage the faithful in the United States to support, remember and pray for maritime workers such as seafarers/merchant mariners, fishermen, port personnel and those in the maritime industry.
I request that you mark the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance by means of homilies and special petitions in the Prayer of the Faithful at the Masses on May 22, 2012. When Mass is celebrated on May 22nd, the text for the Votive Mass, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea is encouraged. The approved readings from the Congregation of Divine Worship are available at the USCCB/Apostleship of the Sea national office and on its website.
In observance of the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, a Maritime Day Mass will be held on May 20, 2012 at 10:00 am, in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC. The Mass is sponsored by the USCCB/Apostleship of the Sea national office and the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church.
May 22nd coincides with National Maritime Day in the United States, celebrated since 1933 to honor those who serve merchant mariners and to recognize the benefits of the maritime industry. Ninety percent of the world’s goods are transported by sea and the waterways, and there are an estimated 1.2 million merchant mariners/seafarers worldwide.
The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, in his July 10, 2011 Angelus Message remembered the People of the Sea and the hardships they and their families face.
“Dear brothers and sisters, today is known as ‘Sea Sunday’, that is, the Day for the Apostolate in the maritime environment. 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. 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”.
The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People also stated in its Message for Sea Sunday 2011: “Though our life greatly benefits from their hard labor and sacrifices, seafarers are a category of workers whom we do not know much about, except when they make the headlines because of some tragedies at sea”.
I encourage you to promote the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the safety and well-being of maritime personnel and for the vital role maritime workers play in the transportation of goods. In a special way, let us remember those who have lost their lives at sea and those in dangerous situations.
Apostleship of the Sea chaplains, associates and volunteers carry on an essential ministry in 58 U.S. maritime ports encompassing 47 dioceses.
Photo: American Merchant Mariners Memorial, New York, by Johan Hansson, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0