Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
This coming Sunday will be the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, and it is also known as ‘Sea Sunday’. Each year, the Church dedicates a special day of prayer and the work of the Apostleship of the Sea. The Apostleship of the Sea supports financially and pastorally seafarers and their families and on this Sunday, their work and ministry around the world is celebrated.
We are an island nation and the bulk of all our imports tends to be brought to us by the sea and our exports also go out of our country the same way. This weekend, you might like to reflect on how many of the things you own in your home come from overseas and may well have been brought to you by those who work at sea. Look in your fridge and cupboard for instance and see how many ‘exotic’ foods you eat each day and each week that has come far and wide and has been brought to the UK from overseas. Behind every item there is an unknown and unseen face; the person who has provided those resources to you through the sea trade routes from across the globe.
This week, let us pray for all those who work at sea, either through fishing and transporting cargo all around the world. Let us remember all those who work in dangerous situations at sea with stormy weather and threatening conditions isolated in the middle of the oceans and are away from the families for months at a time. Let us pray for those who minister to them and their families as Priest and Lay Chaplains. The work of the Apostleship of the Sea is important as they provide seafarers and their families with the much needed support they require as part of their working life. They help with vital physical and spiritual needs. The Organisation offers support with someone to talk to, Mass is said on the ships and important one to one pastoral care is given. The seafarers have someone to talk to in the Chaplains, someone to share problems with, help them with their pay and advice if they have financial worries and they also provide a vital link home by simply organising a much needed phone call to loved ones back home.
Inspired by Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si, Catholic Christians can be much more informed as to the ways in which we should be looking to care for our planet home particularly in a more prayerful, ethical and sustainable way. We are, after all, meant to be stewards of creation and serve our planet home with our lifestyle choices rather than demanding the planet serve us by them! In the light of the future predictions of climate change we should be considering ways in which we can live simply so that others may simply live. Our lifestyle choices here in the developed world impact directly upon the lives of our brothers and sisters in the developing world. This also gets reflected back crucially with the amount of ships which each day all year round which sail to every country in the world. The majority of seafarers who work at sea in 2019 are from developing or third world countries. Due to increased demand of foods, goods and services which originate from worldwide all contribute to the food miles and our carbon footprint.
Our prayer this week is taken from the Apostleship of the Sea website www.apostleshipofthesea.org.uk
O Mary, Star of the Sea, light of every ocean,
guide seafarers across all dark and stormy seas
that they may reach the haven of peace and light prepared in Him who calmed the sea.
As we set forth upon the oceans of the world and cross deserts of our time,
show us, O Mary, the fruit of your womb, for without your Son we are lost.
Pray that we will never fail on life’s journey,
that in heart and mind, word and deed,
in days of turmoil and in days of calm,
we will always look to Christ and say,
‘Who is this that even wind and sea obey him?’
Our Lady of Peace, pray for us! Bright Star of the Sea, guide us! Amen.
Our Lady, Star of the Sea Pray for Seafarers Pray for us.