CRUISE SHIP chaplains deployed by the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) have gathered in London to discuss how they can better meet the needs of passengers and crew as the cruise industry continues to expand.
Thirty-five priests from across England and Wales met in London for the train ing day, the first of its kind. These priests, deployed by the AOS on cruise ships free of charge, are released from full-time pastoral work in parishes for a week or two each year to undertake a cruise. During their trips they provide support to passengers and crew on board, administer the Sacra ments and offer a listening ear to all.
Many priests find serving thousands of crew members and passengers a great pastoral challenge. Those who work on cruise ships, especially the "below decks" staff, are often recruited from poorer countries and are separated from loved ones many miles away. John Green, director of development at AOS, said: "The impact of a chaplain is tangible. A ship's doctor observed recently that the presence of a chaplain had improved crew morale to such an extent that visits to his office by crew members had fallen by half."