The Catholic bishop of Maine and the Anglican bishop for the Northeast have called upon parishes to include in their Sunday services prayers for seafarers and those who make their livings on the waterfront.
The Right Rev. Brian Marsh, of the Anglican Church in America, and the Most Rev. Richard Malone, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, have asked members of their flocks to remember those who have given their lives at sea in peace and in war this weekend, and to pray for those who are at sea today that they will be safe in their journeys.
“Our seafarers are often forgotten, as well as the vital role they played in the building of this nation and their sacrifice in time of war,” Marsh said in a press release issued Monday. “The United States Merchant Marine, recognized by President Roosevelt as America’s fourth arm of defense, suffered the second highest per-capita casualty rate during World War II with [more than] 6,000 sailors and hundreds of ships lost at sea.”
The bishops are encouraging all parishioners, through special prayer and intentions, to honor merchant mariners for their dedication to promoting commerce and protecting our freedom.
“May the Lord protect and comfort those who risk their lives in the uncertain waters of the maritime industry,” Malone said. “We are grateful for their role in our country’s economic and national security needs, and entrust them and their loved ones in the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as Stella Maris, Star of the Sea.”
The Catholic Church and the Anglican Church in America, which have a long history of ministry to seafarers, recognize the closest Sunday to National Maritime Day on May 22 each year as Sea Sunday, Sue Bernard, spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese in Maine, said Monday in a press release.
“There are no gravestones at sea so we remember them and their families in our parishes, also asking God to keep those at sea who face war, piracy and bad weather safe,” Marsh said.
He has asked that the following prayer from the Book of Common Prayer be included in Sunday services:
“O Eternal God, who alone spreadest out the heavens, and rulest the raging of the sea; We commend to thy almighty protection, thy servants, for whose preservation on the great deep our prayers are desired.
“Guard them, we beseech thee, from the dangers of the sea, from sickness, from the violence of enemies, and from every evil to which they may be exposed. Conduct them in safety to the haven where they would be, with a grateful sense of thy mercies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”