Southampton parishioner and sailor Russ Fairman will embark on the 2.5 months long sailing pilgrimage, leaving St Joseph’s Church on Saturday 29th April. Russ is a passionate supporter of Catholic charity Stella Maris (formerly known as Apostleship of the Sea) and aims to raise funds and awareness for the work of the charity, which exists to provide spiritual and practical support to seafarers, fishers and their families.
This 2,136 nautical miles journey will start with Mass in St. Joseph’s Church in Southampton and will circumnavigate the UK in an anti-clockwise direction. It will stop at 50 ports and holy sites along the way, including the Shrines of Our Lady of Walsingham and Our Lady of the Taper Cardigan, and the holy islands of Lindisfarne (with its historical connections to St Cuthbert and St Aidan), Iona (St Columba) and Arran (St Molaise).
The sailing pilgrimage will end with Mass at St John’s Cathedral on the same day as Sea Sunday, 9th July, preceded by a planned procession from the boat with the Stella Maris icon from Gunwharf Quay Marina to the Cathedral before the service.
This eagerly anticipated Round Britain Sailing Pilgrimage will celebrate Stella Maris’ 100 years of service to seafarers and fishers and contains many local connections.
Russ said, “Through this endeavour, we can hopefully raise further the profile of Stella Maris and the wonderful work it does in helping the People of the Sea.”
Russ will be leading the pilgrimage on board the ‘Mintaka’, a 34ft sailboat. He is a RYA/MCA Yacht Master (Commercially Endorsed, Cruising Instructor) with over 30 years sailing experience.
There is excitement already building for an initiative which has captured people’s imagination after it was originally planned to take place in 2020 to mark the charity’s centenary.
The pilgrimage offers a unique opportunity for parishioners and Stella Maris supporters across the Diocese to join as crew members, and experience one leg of the journey first-hand.
Stella Maris South Coast regional port chaplains Gregory Hogan and Charles Stuart are among those who will join in.
Parishioners can get involved by attending gatherings to be held in Southampton and Portsmouth, which will provide a platform to learn more about the work of Stella Maris, meet the crew, and participate in community events.
This is an excellent opportunity for people to show their support for Stella Maris and further highlight the vital work that the organisation does.
The voyage is expected to be a rewarding experience for all involved. They will navigate the coastal waters of the UK, see beautiful coastal scenery and marine wildlife, and make a difference to the lives of seafarers.
Stella Maris provides a range of services to seafarers and fishers, including welfare, practical, and emotional support, pastoral care and chaplaincy services.
It is the largest ship-visiting network in the world, carrying out 70,000 ship visits around the world each year. This sailing pilgrimage aims to raise awareness and funds to help continue this critical work.
For more information about the sailing pilgrimage, or to volunteer to be part of the crew, please contact the skipper Russ at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the website https://sailingpilgrimages.co.uk/stella-maris/
No previous sailing experience is necessary, just a reasonable level of agility and fitness. Volunteers crewing on the boat can get involved in as much or as little of the sailing operations as they wish.
For more information about the port gatherings and how to attend one of them, please contact email@example.com