|Arcadia seen through Strelitzia; in the Azores|
'That'll be a nice holiday for you, Father' said most people hearing I was to act as Chaplain for nine days aboard P&Os' 'Arcadia'. Well, yes - but it was rather more than that.
|One of many midnight masses in the crew mess|
These seamen are amazing. They seemed genuinely sorry that we would not be with them to celebrate a New Year Mass. The Port Chaplains from the Apostleship of the Sea ("Stella Maris") give what support they can, but on most of the Cruise Ships there is no full-time chaplain, and P&O invite us aboard only for Christmas and Easter. For long periods of the year the men and women are without the Church's ministrations.
|After a 9am Mass with Passengers|
|Spot the Donkey; just behind the Holy Family.|
Other Christmas things have been made for the celebrations; an entire ginger-bread village decorated with sweets; and cakes with elaborate icing.most of their lives at sea, yet who have no security
|The edible Christmas Village|
I am writing this chiefly to encourage anyone who can to support the work of the Apostleship of the Sea (Google it for details): and to ask you to spare a prayer for men and women who spend most of their lives at sea, yet who have no security and are engaged just one trip at a time. Their devotion to Christ and his Mother and to the Church is humbling. It is a privilege for any priest to have a chance to serve them, even if only briefly.
|The crib [ready for the Bambino] with some of its makers|
|Pillars from a Boathouse in Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua|