Seafarers "Service in progress"

There is a sign outside the chapel of the Mission to Seafarers (MTS) Centre which reads “Service in progress. Please come in.”

Seafarers "Service in progress"

The sign is illuminated when a liturgy’s taking place, but it could be illuminated all the time because the Seafarers Centre exists to serve, so service is always in progress.


Chairman of the MTS Port Committee, Fr Chris Bird, said in his homily at the blessing of the newly refurbished Centre on Sunday, “Our task is to be neighbourly and hospitable.” He invoked the recent gospels of the good Samaritan, and Martha and Mary, as exemplars of the mission of the Centre and all who work and volunteer there.


Before blessing the Centre’s various facilities, Bishop Bill received the offering of symbols of seafaring: a line, a sextant and a compass. He also blessed a floral wreath, in tribute to the lives that have been lost at sea.


Present for the liturgy of blessing were many volunteers who provide refreshment, drive the Centre’s bus, knit beanies, operate the shop and simply spend time with the seafarers. Chaplain Rick McCosker prayed to God, “the giver of all good gifts, for the 1.5 million seafarers who are prepared to leave their families, friends and homes to sail the seas in dangerous and lonely conditions to bring us the food for our table, cargoes for industry and commerce, the coal and fuels for our country. May we in turn care for them and their families, and hold them in our prayers, so all may sail in safety and return home to their loved ones.”  


A spontaneous addition to the liturgy was the request from Senior Chaplain, Fr Garry Dodd, to Bishop Bill that he bless some 150 beanies that had been knitted and presented for the seafarers. After his onboard experience, reported in the June Aurora, Fr Garry is well aware of how necessary beanies are. Bishop Bill happily blessed the brightly coloured beanies in the name of “Christ who is our head”. 



Article by Tracey Edstein. 









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