Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Apostleship of the Sea

South Shields Candlelit Carol Service

Catholic maritime charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) held a 'Carols by Candlelight' service in South Shields in honour of seafarers.

A packed St. Bede's Church, South Shields on Wednesday 12 December saw a great opportunity for parishioners and the local community to remember seafarers, many of whom will be working at sea and in ports during Christmas.

Alongside Fr. Michael Weymes the service was attended by Port Chaplains, Paul Atkinson and Deacon Peter Barrigan and Brenda Bland from AoS. The outstanding music was provided by St. Bede's School Choir, The Youth Choir, organists Carmen Green and Charles Harrison, and soloists Sarah Fenwick and Anne Marie-Owens.

AOS Carol Service 2018

AoS Tyne port chaplain Paul Atkinson said, "For most of us Christmas is about spending time with family and friends. For many seafarers, however, Christmas is spent on a ship or in a port, hundreds of miles away from home."

"It's easy to forget that a lot of the presents we give each other during Christmas are brought to our shops by seafarers on ships, so why not come together and raise our voices to show our appreciation for them."

He added, "The Christmas Carols Service is a good opportunity to come together to remember and pray for seafarers as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ coming into our own homes and hearts. Perhaps in some way we can let seafarers inspire us to celebrate Advent and Christmas with open hearts."

About Apostleship of the Sea:

The Apostleship of the Sea (AoS), is a registered charity and agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England & Wales and Scotland. It is wholly reliant on voluntary donations and legacies to continue its work.

90% of world trade is transported by ship, and more than 100,000 ships visit British ports each year. However the life of a modern seafarer can be dangerous and lonely. They may spend up to a year at a time away from home, separated from their family and loved ones, often working in harsh conditions.

AoS chaplains and ship visitors welcome seafarers to our shores - regardless of their colour, race or creed and provide them with pastoral and practical assistance. They recognise them as brothers with an intrinsic human dignity which can be overlooked in the modern globalised maritime industry.

For more information contact AoS on 0207 901 1931 or email: info@apostleshipofthesea.org.uk.