World of Yachting to Get Pastoral Care

Holy See Looks to Help the World of Maritime Racing

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See will offer pastoral care to the hundreds of professionals who gravitate around maritime competitions, beginning with two top events: the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup.

The announcement was made today in a press statement published by the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.

The council explained that «competitive regattas bring hundreds of yachtsmen and yachtswomen, together with their families and support groups and accredited journalists, and require them to live away from home, sometimes for periods ranging from three to six months.»

In its press statement, the council asks: Do the people involved in regattas «know where they can turn for the advice and support they may need, given the unfamiliar situation in which they find themselves? How visible is the Church in such situations?»

The president of the pontifical council, Japanese Archbishop Stephen Fumio Hamao, asked that a study be made «of the actual regatta environment.»

This study, which will have two phases and will be carried out by the maritime section of the council, will begin with «the current Vuitton and America’s Cup.»

«The first phase of the research (November-December 2002),» the statement says, «will consist of contacting people who can help in understanding the environment because they are close to the various competing teams and those accompanying them, and would therefore be able to report on what actually happens on the pastoral level.

«Those concerned will be the local parish priests and chaplains — of the Apostleship of the Sea and of other member groups of the International Christian Maritime Association (I.C.M.A.) — and the journalists who in the past have covered such events or are now doing so.»

«The second phase,» the statement continues, «will involve opening a dialogue during the Vuitton Cup final (January 2003) with the local Church, the record management, the media and the support groups, introducing them to the Apostleship of the Sea and its ministry among seafarers and itinerant people.»

«It is hoped that the information, suggestions, proposals or offers of help received during these two phases can enrich the reflection already begun by this pontifical council on how to proceed with helping diocesan bishops in particular to ‘determine the most suitable forms of pastoral care for maritime personnel’ (‘Stella Maris,’ art. XII, 2.1),» the statement adds.

«It will also help the worldwide leaders of the Apostleship of the Sea to ‘offer assistance to all who are involved in this pastoral work’ (Ibid., 1.4),» it concludes.

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