Words from Washington archbishop Donald Wuerl, main celebrant and homilist for the Mass for the sixth annual National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea, alluding to the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:
Perhaps it takes a tragedy such as the events in the Gulf of Mexico to remind us of how life-giving the water is and how it touches all of us in one way or another.
Two USCCB ministries developed the event, the Apostleship of the Sea national office and the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church. The liturgical texts used were a 2006 innovation approved by Rome, a votive Mass for “The Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea.”
Unlike the major celebration of the traditional Latin Mass last month, this liturgy was celebrated in the Crypt Church at the National Shrine. The liturgy wasn’t all about the Gulf Spill; prayers were offered for people who make sacrifices for maritime industries, and especially for those whose lives have been lost at sea. A special prelude, “Whispers of the Sea,” was composed especially for the service by Philip Momchilovich.
In a Catholic News Service report, Msgr William Cuddy, US Coast Guard chaplain, explained the importance of the ministry of the Apostleship of the Sea:
(It) provides invaluable service for which the Coast Guard and the Navy are very grateful especially as our chaplains are so involved in the lives of are active and reserve personnel and their families, due the demands of deployment and their personal needs.
More from CNS:
The Apostleship of the Sea is a worldwide Catholic ministry. In the U.S. the apostleship’s chaplains, associates and volunteers carry out their ministry in 61 maritime ports in 49 dioceses to carry out their essential ministry.