Stella Maris, a mission of the Catholic Church to help seafarers, will strengthen its chaplain training program in the Philippines.
“This is the concern of the Church, to let the seafarers feel that the Church is with them, caring for them, compassionate and concerned for their welfare,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos, Episcopal Promoter of Stella Maris in the country.
He said that with the Philippines’ primary role in the maritime industry, “we can do more for the seafarers in terms of their spiritual and sacramental formation.”
Stella Maris Philippines has currently 14 chaplains serving in the country’s various ports.
“The chaplain training program is to refresh them, to make them renewed and strengthened … to follow and fulfill what Jesus said and did,” said Bishop Santos.
Father Bruno Ciceri, Stella Maris International director, told a Radio Veritas 846 interview that the ministry “was challenged” during the pandemic, “from a ministry of physical presence in the ports because the ports were closed and we couldn’t go.”
“Because the seafarers were unable to visit our center, we must shift to a ministry of presence through social media,” said the priest.
Father Ciceri thanked Filipino seafarers and fishermen and their families “who suffer because they are separated from their loved ones for an extended period of time.”