Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
People on the Move
N° 106 (Suppl.-I), April 2008
Introduction and Welcome
Archbishop Agostino MARCHETTO
Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the
Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
I have the honor and pleasure to welcome you to this morning of work that will be dedicated to the Promoter Bishops, Regional Coordinators and National Directors of the Apostleship of the Sea.
This is truly a great premiere because it is the first time that a World Congress is preceded by a meeting of this importance and kind. I thank you for responding affirmatively to the invitation of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and accepting to dedicate some additional time to this important dialogue.
If we want to develop as a Work of the Maritime Apostolate and be faithful to the responsibility which the Church entrusts to us to promote “the specific pastoral care of the people of the sea…[and] support the work of the faithful who are called to witness to their Christian life in this sphere” (SM Art. I), it is crucial for a communion, a synergy, to come forth from the different people who are dedicated, each on his or her level and in a regular way, to this mission.
You will note as the days go by through the different reports that one consideration often returns: namely, that the chaplains have the feeling, right or wrong, that the Apostleship of the Sea as an Organization is not a priority for some local Churches and dioceses, even those in a maritime context. This may be explained by the fact that the “faithful” to whom the Apostleship of the Sea is sent are often almost “invisible” and find themselves outside of the ordinary structures of pastoral care. They are often far from the church and live on the periphery of the other faithful because of the demands and circumstances of their lives.
Despite the many invitations to join the existing parish structures, these encouragements have not had much success because the people of the sea need a specific pastoral care, as the Church has recognized, moreover, by creating the Work of the Maritime Apostolate, whose role is to proclaim the Good News of the Risen Jesus Christ, the source of all hope, in the maritime world.
So today we want to dedicate a little time to studying the mechanism of this cooperation and arrive at some conclusions that will help consolidate the structure of the Apostleship of the Sea. During the first part of the meeting, which will be animated by Rev. Giacomo Martino with the collaboration of the Most Rev. Joshua Mar Ignathios and Rev. Raymond Desrochers, we will discuss problems and needs of the AM teams on the local and national levels. During the second part, animated by Their Excellencies Burns and Goclowski and Rev. Fonseca, we will illustrate the role of the Bishop Promoter.
Thank you for agreeing to share your experiences with us, and I declare this meeting open, as I wish you all a good and fruitful morning.