What is it about Docks and Ports? Dover, East End of London, and now Fishguard? Things happen there, as they do at railway stations.
Fishguard, one of the ports to go to Ireland, is tucked into this rocky Welsh shore, not far from St David’s. I introduced readers to the late John Byrne a year ago last month; he was a highly respected Irish railway modeller.
He was also a retired sea captain. When we were in Pembrokeshire I sent him a photo of the Ferry arriving in port; he recognised her at once, saying she was not built for the Irish Sea and the Atlantic swells, but for the enclosed Mediterranean or the Baltic, and gave many a rough ride when the wind was up.
I wonder how it was for Saint Nôn and her son David, forced into exile when he was little, voyaging on a tiny boat across the very sea that John’s big ship was so ill-equipped for?
Let us remember in our prayers all those in peril on the sea, especially those trying to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy boats. Like the one used to make the Lampedusa Cross. And remember, too, the crews who spend months at sea, rarely able to call home, ill-paid, forgotten by us consumers who depend on their hard work.
The train’s dirty window enhanced the gloom: the person I was meant to be meeting was ‘in a bad place’; it was cold, grey and drizzling. The English Channel was cold and grey. Brrr.
Break, break, break: I thought of Tennyson’s lines.
Break, break, break,
On thy cold grey stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.
O well for the fisherman’s boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!
And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!
Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.
The rest of the world gets on with life, but we may well feel speechless, heartbroken. Break, break, break!
And he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death; stay you here, and watch. And when he was gone forward a little, he fell flat on the ground; and he prayed, that if it might be, the hour might pass from him. And he saith: Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee: remove this chalice from me; but not what I will, but what thou wilt.
Let’s remember the broken-hearted and remember, too, seafarers, far from home, and the Apostleship of the Sea who take care of them in port.
I have copied this story from the Independent Catholic News website because it shows how trust can grow from small seeds, growing where the Lord sows. ICN is always worth a visit!
AoS port chaplain prays with Muslim seafarer
|Wednesday, January 20, 2016 1:34 pm.
| Comment Email Print
The Catholic seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) supports seafarers regardless of their religion or beliefs. John Pinhay, AoS port chaplain in Fowey, Cornwall, went on board a ship called the Skagenbank over the Christmas period to visit its crew and give out presents.
The crew members were very busy but John was welcomed by the ship’s chief engineer who in turn introduced John to Radjo Muhammad, the cook. Radjo received the Christmas gifts on the crews’ behalf, and he and John got talking about a multitude of topics.
“After a long conversation and a coffee, Radjo mentioned that he was a practising Muslim who respected all believers in God,” said John.
As John was about to leave he asked Radjo if he wanted to join in a prayer and this the seafarer readily did. Prayers were offered up for the safe passage of the crew and eventual safe return home to family and friends.
John said, “It was a very memorable experience and a good opportunity to live out Pope Francis’ call to engage in meaningful dialogue and friendship with our brethren of other religions.”
The Apostleship of the Sea, AoS, is a registered charity and agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England & Wales and Scotland. It is wholly reliant on voluntary donations and legacies to continue its work.
90% of world trade is transported by ship, and more than 100,000 ships visit British ports each year. However the life of a modern seafarer can be dangerous and lonely. They may spend up to a year at a time away from home, separated from their family and loved ones, often working in harsh conditions.
Read more about the Apostleship of the Sea here: http://www.apostleshipofthesea.org.uk/