Mission to seafarers about being a friend

7 July 2018


Parishes across Australia are called to support the work of Seafarers as part of the annual Sea Sunday Appeal on 8 July. Every dollar raised will help to provide pastoral support for seafaring men, women and their families through the works of Stella Maris centres across Australia.

When Patrick Moore was ordained a Permanent Deacon for Perth Archdiocese in 2006, he was asked to take on the care of the Stella Maris Seafarers’ Centre in Fremantle – despite having no previous connection with the sea whatsoever.

“I was on a steep learning curve, that’s for sure,” he says. “But looking back, I feel I was very fortunate to be asked to do this work.”

Since then, Patrick has seen hundreds of ships come and go from Fremantle, and has been a helping hand for their crew members.

“It’s fairly simple really,” he says. “We visit the ships, we collect the men from the ships who wish to see us, and we bring them here to the Centre and attend to their needs.

“It’s very practical stuff mostly, but it’s important for the men. Sometimes they might just want somewhere to sit down and relax and have a cup of coffee. It’s a home away from home for them. It’s their place to hang out.”

Life working at sea can be lonely and difficult, says Patrick. Bullying is common and stress and mental illness rates are high.

For more about the Apostleship of the Sea, the Sea Sunday Appeal or to make a donation, please visit: www.aos-australia.org

“I really like the men that we meet and I have a deep respect for the hardship of their lives,” he says.

“Their living and working conditions are often poor and yet they still generally greet us with a smile and they really do appreciate the services they get from the Stella Maris Centre.”

While the seafarers’ needs are often basic, there are other times when they are sick or where a serious incident or a death has occurred at sea, when they might need hospital visits or some spiritual direction and pastoral care.

Patrick recalls one incident when a fire broke out on board a ship while it was in the harbour.

“All the men were ordered off the ship with absolutely nothing,” he says. “They were stressed and worried about what this meant for their future. So, we found them clothing and shoes and rooms in a hotel.

“Really, they just needed friends, and that’s we do, we become a friend. I enjoy that. It’s very satisfying kind of work.”

“Stella Maris Centres welcome enquiries from people interested in volunteering their time to support this ministry”

The Apostleship of the Sea currently ministers in the Ports of Adelaide, Albany, Bell Bay, Brisbane, Broome, Bunbury, Fremantle, Hastings, Mackay, Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney.

For more about the Apostleship of the Sea, the Sea Sunday Appeal or to make a donation, please visit: www.aos-australia.org


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