Welfare can come in all forms, and even a small gesture of thoughtfulness and care can make a seafarer feel more heartened at sea
Easter Sunday falls on 17 April this year. For the world’s Christian community, celebratory customs may include sunrise services, midnight vigils, exclamations and exchanges of Paschal greetings and the communal breaking of Easter eggs. But for Christian seafarers, being out at sea may mean missing out on the celebration and honouring of the resurrection of Jesus.
A little thoughtfulness goes a long way
For the Filipino seafarers onboard the Singapore-flagged Star Trust cargo vessel, who had been out at sea since January this year, a small action by their employer had made their day. During their pit stop at the Port of Wilmington, USA where their cargo had been offloaded, their Master had made a call to the communications office of the Diocese of Wilmington.
Due to leave the port in less than two days, the Master rang the communications office on 4 April to see if there was a priest willing to conduct Mass aboard the ship on short notice. The seafarers were stuck onboard and were unable to get ashore. Thankfully, a priest answered their call boarded the vessel the next day.
As the seafarers would be out at sea and on duty during Easter Sunday, the Mass had been a comforting gesture by their employer. Taking the opportunity to speak to a spiritual leader, some of the seafarers had mentioned that they did not participate in Mass since New Year’s Eve. Evidently, this short-noticed Mass provided some emotional support for the men who had been sailing around the world without a chance to practice their faith.
According to Bishop William E. Koenig, who answered the last-minute request, the 20 seafarers on board were ecstatic and had beaming smiles throughout the short session. As mental wellness and welfare of seafarers become topics of discussion and the focus of employers for the sustainability of the business, perhaps such thoughtful and small gestures could be a good start.
Crewing Online Media Team
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