WASHINGTON – The National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea will be observed on May 22. Bishop Brendan J. Cahill of Victoria, bishop-promoter of Stella Maris, the apostolate of the Catholic Church for the people of the sea, is inviting dioceses in the United States to mark the day with prayer for seafarers.
To commemorate National Maritime Day, Bishop Cahill will celebrate the 12:10 p.m. Mass on Saturday, May 20 in the crypt church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. The annual National Maritime Day celebration is an opportunity to applaud the important work of seafarers and helps to create awareness for their “around the clock” work, that often goes unrecognized. Bishop Cahill is encouraging priests to remember seafarers in their homilies, special petitions during Mass, and highlighting other maritime events. For Masses being celebrated on May 22, Bishop Cahill is encouraging the use of the text for the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea.
In a message on World Fisheries Day in 2022, Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J., prefect of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development stated: “The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that everything is connected and that we are in the same boat. It is necessary to join our efforts to create a new social conscience and innovative form of solidarity in which no one is left behind. Pope Francis invites us to ‘bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. […] All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements, and talents […].’”
Each day, chaplains and volunteers support and care for all the people of the Sea, as well as their families. Bishop Cahill had the opportunity to visit and tour the Stella Maris Seafarer Center in Baltimore, as well as the Port of Baltimore in November 2022 in support of the chaplains, the port director, volunteers, and the seafarer’s spiritual needs. He reflected on his pastoral visit saying, “Our port ministers inspire all of us with their dedication and love for our seafarers and families. This especially was strong for me as I heard the care and love that our chaplains showed for some seafarers who were stranded at sea, or those who recently died.”
Stella Maris chaplains welcome, reach out to and celebrate seafarers and their families, and all who work or travel on the seas. Through the celebration of the Eucharist and the proclamation of the Word of God, as well as providing other vital services and necessities, Catholic chaplaincy teams fulfill the mission of the Church and help seafarers discover the loving presence of God in an often-challenging world.