WASHINGTON-- Bishop J. Kevin Boland, bishop emeritus of Savannah, Georgia, and Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) promoter will celebrate a Mass in observance of the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea. The Mass will take place on Saturday, May 24, at 12:10 p.m., in the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. The Mass is open to the public and sponsored by the AOS national office and the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
In 2005, the USCCB designated May 22 as the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea to encourage the faithful in the country to support, remember and pray for merchant mariners, fishermen, port personnel and others in the maritime industry.
The National Day of Prayer is held in conjunction with National Maritime Day in the United States, which has been celebrated since 1933 to recognize the hard working men and women in the Merchant Marine and to recognize the benefits of the maritime industry.
"All prayer must be accompanied by good works. The Port Chaplain Ministry is vital for the continued welfare of seafarers and their families. We must be advocates for their wellbeing, good living conditions, and guaranteed access to family and friends. These are the basic and rightful needs of all human persons," Bishop Boland said.
Bishop Boland 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.
On January 22, Pope Francis called on those who work for the wellbeing of seafarers and families to "be the voice of those workers who live far from their loved ones and face dangerous and difficult situations."
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. More information can be found at www.usccb.org/aos