Vatican’s Maritime Bishop visits crew of Britannia


22316799881_0503da0eaa_zThe Vatican Bishop charged with the pastoral care of seafarers visited the crew of the recently launched cruise ship Britannia on Friday, when it docked in Civitavecchia, near Rome.

At the beginning of his visit Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, from Catholic charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS), presented Deputy Captain Hamish Sunter with the Apostleship of the Sea Crest.

Some of the ships 1,350 crew then joined the bishop in the ship’s theatre for Mass; with many of them coming from Catholic countries, this was a particularly poignant moment for them.

Bishop Joseph, who is Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants, which coordinates the global activities of AoS, then toured the 141,000-ton ship.

Rev Roger Stone, Port Chaplain in the ship’s home port of Southampton, was also onboard and recounted how this visit underlined the Church’s unique care for seafarers through its network of port chaplains around the world and those that sail on P&O Cruises ships as cruise chaplains.

Rev Stone said: “The unique partnership between P&O Cruises and Apostleship of the Sea is greatly valued by crew, who know the chaplain is someone they can turn to both emotional and spiritual support.”

He had blessed the ship’s rail for all the crew onboard on the day of her maiden voyage from Southampton in March when the vessel was named by HM The Queen.