By the Presidential Proclamation 1094 by then President Fidel Ramos, the President has tasked the ministry of the Apostleship of the Sea/Stella Maris to spearhead the celebration of the National Seafarers’ Day every last Sunday of September to recognize and give tribute to the Filipino Seafarers.
This year is the 26th celebration of National Seafarers’ Day. Cebu’s celebration has given the theme: “Filipino Seafarers: Gift to the World and the Church” to be of relevance with this years’ celebration of the 500 Years Arrival of Christianity which has also the theme “Gifted to give.” The Apostleship of the Sea Ministry has been at the forefront of extending service and compassion to seafarers, fishers, and their families.
It is known that during this pandemic everybody is affected but some key workers need our support and assistance. During this time of the pandemic, various difficulties have been confronted by our seafarers. Some seafarers could not sign off even their contracts have already been lapsed. Until now thousands of seafarers are still confined in their vessels for more than a year longing to go home but could not because of very limited crew change. There were times especially during the hard lockdown that thousands of returning seafarers have been stranded in the different places of the metropolis particularly in Manila and Cebu and could not go home due to strict border control. What is more painful was at that time they felt like being an instant persona non-grata because their towns and provinces would not accept them out of fear of infecting the virus. There are however seafarers who have been found positive with Covid-19 because of their exposures to people especially those working on cruise ships. Sadly, many of them felt distressed and a number of them have been experiencing depression. That’s why reaching out to the seafarers and lend a listening ear and providing, practical, psycho-spiritual assistance should be an essential service to them which is believed to bring consolation amid the difficulties they have been facing. The Church is there for them. The Church will continue to be there for them.
This coming Sunday, September 26, 2021, various activities have been slated to give tribute to our seafarers. At 6:00 AM on Sunday, a Memorial Rite will take place at the Terminal 2 Docking area, Port of Cebu to offer prayers and flowers for all dead seafarers. At 9:00, there will be a Solemn Eucharistic Celebration to be presided over by Msgr. Joselito Tajanlangit is to be followed by a program for the Tribute to Seafarers. Seafarers and their families are expected to grace the said important event.