Apostleship of the Sea began as voluntary lay movement

By Catholic News Service

The Apostleship of the Sea is an apostolic work of the Catholic Church, providing hospitality and pastoral care to people who make their living from, or on, the sea.

The ministry began informally in the late 1800s in the ports of London, Montreal, New York, New Orleans and Melbourne, Australia. A Jesuit priest launched the first Apostleship of the Sea in Scotland. During the ministry’s first eight years, from 1899 to 1907, more than 200,000 seafarers were served.

Then in 1922, Pope Pius XI conveyed his “approval and encouragement” of the special ministry. But it wasn’t until Nov. 21, 1957, that the Holy See officially approved the Apostleship of the Sea’s laws and constitution, with “Apostolatus Maris” becoming a work of the church.

So what began as a voluntary lay movement is now a worldwide pastoral and welfare organization in more than 200 ports in more than 30 countries around the world.

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