Sea Sunday is an annual service held by Mission to Seafarers centres worldwide to recognise and celebrate the critical role of the seafarer. The service is always held on the second Sunday of each July, and the Brisbane Mission to Seafarers (MTS) Centre has, over the years, undertaken a range of activities in our Diocese’s parishes on this commemorated day to help spread the word about the work that we do to support the physical, emotional and spiritual wellness of the seafarer.
As a seafarer myself for over 40 years, I have an enormous appreciation of what it is to live this life. Having been a marine pilot in the Port of Brisbane for the past 15 years, I have been able to combine my passion of working on board ships while being able to connect with seafarers to bring hope, care and happiness to their daily lives through my work at Mission to Seafarers.
It is rarely understood that a modern seafarer’s life is one spent in physical, mental and spiritual isolation for most of their journey, spending up to 12 months in every 15 months away from their loved ones and extended families, often without regular communication. This life is spent in a harsh environment.
Seafarers today are generally sourced from the Majority World (developing nations where most of the world’s populations live) and their choice of work, and the associated significant dislocation and isolation, is a selfless act which allows their immediate and extended families to live a life that many others in their communities could only dream of.
While our demands for goods and services drive the global supply chain and shipping, the seafarers who work on these ships miss out on the love and joy that we experience being regularly around our families and friends with the ability to watch our children grow, learn and love.
Sea Sunday is more than a day to recognise and celebrate the role of the seafarer. It is an opportunity for us to recognise the significant dislocation seafarers have chosen to accept and acknowledge their sacrifices that enable us to live the life we do.
We can pray for their wellbeing while aboard ships, for their family’s wellbeing, and their family’s continued love until the seafarers are safely returned home again and into their arms. We can also ask ourselves, ‘what more can we do to help ease the hardships that today’s seafarers endure?’
So please join me as we thank and pray for our seafarers and their families this Sea Sunday.