When you think about Christmas, you may not think first of Seafarers. They are often away from their families and friends for long periods, so their celebrations will be much less than the average person’s if they happen. However, thanks to the generosity of parishioners at Sacred Heart, Waterlooville, led by Parishioner Patrick Binks, a Stella Maris volunteer, Christmas gifts were distributed to crews of merchant ships that called into Portsmouth over the festive period.
The ships bring bananas into the UK from the Caribbean. The sailors on all the ships were mainly Filipino, and the officers were of mixed nationalities – a single Master was from the Netherlands, and the Master in the group was Russian.
One Master said, “Our special thanks go to Stella Maris for the Christmas gifts we received on board. Our crew very much appreciated this gesture.”
Stella Maris is the largest ship-visiting network in the world and seeks to improve the lives of seafarers and fishers through a network of local chaplains and seafarer centres, expert information, advocacy, and spiritual support. For more on the charity visit https://www.stellamaris.org.uk