The Archbishop of Westminster paid a special visit to ecumenical charity Liverpool Seafarers Centre encouraging local communities to support the plight of seafarers ahead of Sea Sunday.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols visited the charity headquarters in Crosby to learn about the widescale support it delivers to 50,000 seafarers passing through the Port of Liverpool each year.
Cardinal Nichols, who grew up in Crosby, said the global Sea Sunday celebration on July 14 presented a terrific opportunity to recognise the role of seafarers. The annual event sees Christian churches of all denominations remembering and praying for seafarers, giving thanks to their lives and work.
Charities including the national Apostleship of the Sea, The Mission to Seafarers and the Sailors’ Society as well as non-denominational groups such as Sea Cadets carry out fundraisers, hold parades, and run awareness campaigns about life at sea.
Cardinal Nichols said: “This is a timely visit to Liverpool Seafarers Centre ahead Sea Sunday. It is wonderful to know that the centre is there to respond to the needs of seafarers, with practical and spiritual support, and I really do want to thank them.
“Seafarers have long been synonymous with the city of Liverpool being part of the fabric and identity of the city. But more importantly they play a fundamental role in each of our lives, with 95% of British imports and exports transported by sea.
“When I visited Tilbury Docks a few years ago where I saw first-hand the confined quarters in which seafarers live. all the dangerous edges they negotiate, with huge amounts of heavy equipment and other machinery.
“I was surprised to learn about the speed with which ships turn around and the limited opportunities crew members have to get off the ships and to do the things you can’t do on ships, such as go to church, shop, get medical attention and contact their families.
“There are many ways local communities can support the work of organisations like Liverpool Seafarers Centre.”
Liverpool Seafarers Centre chief executive John Wilson said: “It’s been a privilege to open our doors to Cardinal Nichols. While having a global profile in the Catholic community he is also very well known locally having spent almost 15 years in the Liverpool archdiocese including vocations in Wigan and Edge Hill.”
Liverpool Seafarers Centre is a partnership between the Catholic Apostleship of the Sea (Liverpool) and the Anglican Mersey Mission to Seafarers. Its history dates back to the 19th century. The charity provides ‘a lifeline’ to seafarers both active and retired.