BY STAFF REPORTER
IT IS NOT JUST sea, sun and celebrating the sacraments for Catholic chaplains aboard cruise ships. Directors of the Apostleship of the Sea meeting at the Vatican have ratified a document clarifying the role of chaplains who serve on board cruise ships.
The document stipulated that priests should not celebrate Catholic weddings on a cruise, but they should be available to offer blessings for newlyweds or couples celebrating wedding anniversaries. It also stated that priests should offer daily and Sunday Masses, as well as ecumenical prayer services when required.
Chaplains should make themselves available for pastoral care and counselling not only with passengers but also the crew, hotel staff and even the entertainers aboard ship, the guidelines said.
Chaplains are also encouraged to attend staff and employee meetings during a cruise to better understand the issues and concern of the people working on board.
The guidelines asked cruise ship companies to provide chaplains with a private cabin and all standard meals.
They are also asked to provide everything necessary to celebrate Mass, including vestments and chalices, and to advertise all the public activities of the chaplain while on board.
Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travellers, which oversees the Apostleship of the Sea, said the recent growth of the cruise ship industry prompted the writing of the new Cruise Ship Ministry Guidelines.
The document will be published later in the year as part of the 90th anniversary celebrations of the Apostleship of the Sea, an organisation started in 1920 in Glasgow to oversee the Church’s mission to Catholic workers in maritime industries.