Pope Benedict XVI

Prayer Intentions of Pope Benedict XVI
General Intention June, 2007

SAILORS That the Lord may protect sailors and all those involved in maritime activities

The Holy father has seafarers on his mind this month because of the 22nd World congress of the Apostleship of the Sea, being held in Gdynia, Poland, June 24-29. The last World Congress (Rio de Janeiro 2002) resolved that “globalized maritime industry be given a humane face.”

The Pope hopes that this year’s congress will achieve much more to “deepen our pastoral care” for all the people of the sea worldwide. He would like to see solidarity that will lead to approval from the International labor Organization of the proposed Convention on Work in the Fishing Sector. Adoption will raise international standards for safety and just treatment of peoples, especially the poorest who depend on the sea for their livelihoods.

Ninety percent of world trade is carried by the sea, providing work to more than a million seafarers. Thirty million people make a living by fishing. Life at sea means separation from family and home, fierce competition, low wages, and harsh and dangerous working conditions. The rate of suicide for international seafarers is triple that of shore workers, and they are 26 times more likely to be killed at work.

In today’s global market you might have a Greek-owned vessel, registered in Malta, with officers from India and a mixed crew from Thailand, Indonesia, Vanuatu, and the Philippines. Imagine the many clashes of culture, religion, and language. How would you cook for such a crew?

For Reflection

Under the title Stella Maris (Star of the Sea), the Blessed Virgin Mary is the patroness of sailors. Why do you think she possesses special concern for these people?

Scripture

Luke 8:25-25 “Where is your faith?”
John 6:16-21 Ít is I. Do not be afraid.”