Pope writing a letter

Amid Worldwide Pandemic, Pope Thanks Seafarers & Fishermen

Reminds Jesus’ First Disciples Were Also Fishermen

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Amid a worldwide pandemic, Pope Francis has expressed special gratitude to seafarers and fishermen.

The Pontiff did so in a videomessage he sent today, June 17, 2020, to the Apostleship of the Sea, and published by the Vatican in various languages.

In the video, the Holy Father recognized the unprecedented challenges they are facing, their countless sacrifices and how often their work is forgotten.

“Long periods spent aboard ships without being able to disembark, separation from families, friends and native countries, fear of infection… All these things are a heavy burden to bear, now more than ever,” he said.

“I would like to say something to all of you,” Francis stressed: “Know that you are not alone and that you are not forgotten. Your work at sea often keeps you apart from others, but you are close to me in my thoughts and prayers, and in those of your chaplains and the volunteers of Stella Maris.”

The Gospel itself, the Jesuit Pope noted, reminds us of this, “when it speaks to us of Jesus and his first disciples, who were fishermen.”

The Pope specifically expressed his desire to offer them “a message and a prayer of hope, comfort and consolation in the face of whatever hardships you have to endure.”

“I would also offer a word of encouragement to all those who work with you in providing pastoral care for maritime personnel,” he said.

Pope Francis concluded, asking them to pray for him, assuring them of his prayers, and praying the Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea, protect them always.

Here is the full Vatican-provided English text:

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

These are difficult times for our world, for we have had to deal with the suffering caused by the coronavirus. Your work as maritime personnel and fishermen has thus become even more important, since it is providing our greater human family with food and other primary needs. For this, we are grateful to you. But also because we know the risks involved in your work. In these past months, your lives and your work have seen significant changes; you have had to make, and are continuing to make, many sacrifices. Long periods spent aboard ships without being able to disembark, separation from families, friends and native countries, fear of infection… All these things are a heavy burden to bear, now more than ever.

I would like to say something to all of you. Know that you are not alone and that you are not forgotten. Your work at sea often keeps you apart from others, but you are close to me in my thoughts and prayers, and in those of your chaplains and the volunteers of Stella Maris. The Gospel itself reminds us of this, when it speaks to us of Jesus and his first disciples, who were fishermen. Today I would like to offer you a message and a prayer of hope, comfort and consolation in the face of whatever hardships you have to endure. I would also offer a word of encouragement to all those who work with you in providing pastoral care for maritime personnel.

Make the Lord bless each of you, your work and your families, and may the Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea, protect you always. I too give you my blessing and I keep you in my prayers. And I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me. Thank you.

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Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a husband, father, grandfather, writer, and communications consultant. He also likes playing the piano and fishing. He writes from the Chicago area.

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