The second Sunday of July, since 1975, a day has been regularly celebrated to remember seafarers, their families, and those who assist them. It recognizes the important employment contribution of seafarers to the economy of all countries in the world. This anniversary also has ecumenical importance because the celebrations and the various awareness-raising activities regarding the human working situation of seafarers are carried out jointly with other Christian denominations, giving testimony of unity of purpose, and cooperation in protecting the rights of seafarers.
Rome, July 9, 2021 – In Italy and in Europe, the celebration of “Sea Sunday” is of further interest because it is celebrated close to the anniversary of the visit of Pope Francis to Lampedusa (July 8, 2013). On the occasion of this year’s Sea Sunday, July 11, the message of Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, recalls the dangers of people working at sea (Covid, piracy, shipwrecks) and urges not only to look at the logic of profit but to help those who live far from loved ones, guaranteeing full respect for their rights.
“The Italian Church extends the particular sensitivity of Pope Francis to the tragedies that continue to occur in the ‘Mare Nostrum’ and on the same occasion invites the ecclesial communities not to forget those who lost their lives while trying to reach the Italian and European coasts, proposing a particular intention to be included in the prayers of the faithful,” said for the occasion Father Mauro Lazzarato, Regional Superior of the Scalabrinian Missionaries of Europe and Africa.
As Scalabrinian Missionaries, we make these requests our own by raising awareness in the communities we are called to serve, through actions of involvement and promotion that bring hope back to the surface and placate pride. We remember the precious and often hidden work of the chaplains and volunteers of the Stella Maris who, even in time of Covid, “have always been at the service of seafarers and fishermen. They are present in their lives, constantly adapting their ministry to changing circumstances and responding to the spiritual and material needs of these workers,” continues Cardinal Turkson’s message.
“Faced with the problems of the people of the sea and in the humanitarian tragedies that the sea collects, working to recover hope is necessary in order not to live resigned among the waves of a history that seems to consign us to an ineluctable destiny. Recovering hope is decisive for quieting the pride of prevailing, the pride of being the best, the pride that does not allow just and solidarity laws and extinguishes the breeze of the Spirit, the only one capable of unfolding the sails of the dialogue that unites the shores of the earth, transforms the most agitated sea into an ocean of peace and is an arch of brotherhood between peoples and cultures,” concluded Father Mauro Lazzarato.
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