Filipino seafarers: A gift to the world and to the Church
Today we celebrate the 26th National Seafarers’ Sunday in recognition of the contribution of our brethren in the seafaring industry, an industry very important to the lifeblood of every nation. We also send our congratulations and best wishes to the Apostleship of the Sea-Cebu Stella Maris Seafarers’ Center for 30 years of dedicated and devoted services. Our seafarers continue to move, to sail, to bring much needed goods to their destinations even when the world has reached a standstill because of Covid-19.
My dear brothers and sisters, life is still rough sailing. We are still struggling against the surging waves of Coronavirusand its variants that have greatly tested our resilience, charity and faith. But we have all persisted and remained steadfast as the case of our seafarers. Our Filipino seafarers continue their toil to ensure business as usual even during this pandemic.
As we set our sight on what lies ahead, and as we direct and raise our sails, let us acknowledge the selfless services and sacrifices of our Filipino seafarers. Let us appreciate their diligence and discipline in their lines of maritime works. Let us continue to pray for their perseverance, for their protection and for their safety. We also pray for their families who they leave behind so they can fulfill their seafaring call of duty.
This Seafarers Sunday which still falls within our 500 years celebration of Christianity, we especially remember them with these words: honor, healing and hope.
Our seafarers give honor to our country with their dedication and discipline in their lines of work. They witness to the world-class quality of labor that Filipinos are known for.
Our beloved Holy Father, Pope Francis, on the occasion ofJuly 11th as Sea Sunday, affirms “without seafarers, the global economy would standstill and without fishermen, many parts of the world would starve.” Whereas more than 90% of world’s goods are transported by sea and our seafood on the table are caught and gathered by our fishers, they are among our essential material providers and economic front liners.Our seafarers and fishers bring healing when hunger is nourished and when material sustenance from their cargo ships or boats reach our ports and shores.
As our seafarers continue to sail the seas of the world, they give hope that despite the pandemic which has paralyzed many of our day-to-day activities and ventures, somehow, we are still interconnected. There is always hope. Our hope is God.
With the maternal guidance and mediation of our Blessed Virgin Mary, the Star of the seas, help and healing will descend upon us. Our seafarers will surely continue to sail and be safely back home. We honor them as our modern-day heroes.We hold them in our prayers as they are our gifts to give to the world and to the Church.
Bishop of Balanga
CBCP Bishop Promoter of Stella Maris-Philippines
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