| 16th November 2004 | Modified: 16th October 2014 | Christianity, News Releases | Seen 50 times | Liked 0 times

16 November
Nov 16
16th November 2004


At their meeting at Scotus College in Glasgow last week (8 November) the  
Bishops Conference of Scotland agreed to undertake a dramatic overhaul of  
the chaplaincy services provided to seafarers. At present in Scotland the  
Apostleship of the Sea which is part of the commission for Social Care  
undertakes little active mission work. A Stella Maris club in Glasgow is  
no longer used by seafarers serving instead retired personnel. Some port activity including Mass on board ships is provided by local clergy in  
Greenock and Aberdeen. The current National Director of the Apostleship of  
the Sea, Mr Leo Gilbert, who is 85 is keen to retire. Against this  
backdrop a comprehensive report on the work of the Apostleship of the Sea in  
England and Wales was presented to the Scottish Bishops by Captain Tony  
Brindle, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.  

Captain Brindle described the dramatic improvement in the level of service  
provided to seafarers following a complete reorganisation of their  
structures. He suggested that vast changes in ship operating patterns over  
the past 30 years with very short periods in port becoming the norm meant  
that the use of shore based centres had declined. Conversely, the demand  
for onboard chaplaincy has grown considerably. Captain Brindle pointed  
out: over 60% of seafarers worldwide are Catholics, whilst Scotland  
receives over 100,000 international seafarers to its shores each year the  
Apostleship of the Sea in Scotland now provides little proactive mission.  
He added: our experience in England and Wales suggests that lay pastoral  
ship visitors and an establishment of lay chaplaincy is the way forward. I  
believe a unity of purpose with the organisation in England and Wales would  
be beneficial to both countries and could best be achieved by the  
Apostleship of the Sea Scotland and England and Wales becoming full partners  
to form AOS Great Britain with the Scottish Bishops nominating two Trustees  
to the new body.  

Captain Brindle s proposals were welcomed by the Scottish Bishops who  
accepted entirely the need to inject new life into what had become a largely  
moribund agency.  

Commenting on the decision to collaborate in the creation of a new structure  
Cardinal O Brien, President of the Bishops Conference of Scotland, said:  
Pope John Paul II has urged Bishops Conferences around the world to  
provide pastoral care for the people of the sea. It is an area of the  
pastoral outreach of the church under the guidance of the Pontifical Council  
for the care of migrants and itinerant peoples of which I am now a member,  
and it is a pastoral need which the Bishops of Scotland are determined to  

Cardinal O Brien added: I welcome the recommendations made by Captain  
Brindle and look forward to collaborating with the Apostleship of the Sea in  
England and Wales towards the creation of a new UK wide structure. The  
Bishops Conference announced that their first nominee to the new structure  
would be Bishop Peter Moran, Bishop of Aberdeen, with a further nominee to  
follow in due course.  


Peter Kearney  
Catholic Media Office  
5 St. Vincent Place  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168  

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