Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Apostleship of the Sea


Press Release - 18 April 2018

Couple’s care for seafarers goes beyond boundaries

Hugh and Mary Ward, parishioners of Our Lady of The Rosary, Peterlee are Volunteer Ship Visitors with Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) in Teesport. Recently, they travelled to Cebu, Philippines to visit a seafarer they had supported when he was in the Tees.


By Hugh and Mary Ward

The initial reason for wanting to visit Cebu was to visit Captain Flores. He took poorly a short time after we saw him at Teesport.

We arrived in Cebu on Wednesday 28 February. We were given such a warm welcome. Fr. John Mission (AoS Cebu Port Chaplain) informed us that he had a few things planned for us.

At 9.00am the next morning we were whisked off to the Associated Marine Officer's and Seamen's Union of the Philippines hospital for seafarers where we were greeted by the clinical director and other hospital staff.

We then joined the AoS volunteers on their weekly visits. This was a something new to us and we felt very humbled.

Mary had her magic bag which had rosaries donated by our parish (Our Lady of The Rosary, Peterlee) in the UK. These were distributed among the patients and families.

Saturday evening was an emotional meeting with Captain Flores. His wife brought him to the hotel then they took us to their home where we met their family and enjoyed a wonderful meal.

Captain and Mrs Flores expressed their gratitude for the help given by AoS in the UK and Cebu. Again, the emotions were high when they dropped us back off.

Sunday saw us up before the sun. We went to the port, where Fr. John had arranged to say Mass on board mv Don Charles Robert, through the HR department of the ship’s owners.

These people were also at the Mass and thanked us for attending and giving our time. The Master spoke of his time in international shipping and remembered visiting our home port, Teesport. Mary once again distributed Rosary beads.

We were overwhelmed by the kindness and love shown to us by the Cebu AoS family. We now understand and can visualise places and conditions the crews talk about. We feel we have another family now living in Cebu. We have brought home such beautiful memories and new ideas.

The full version of Hugh and Mary’s sharing can be read on our website.


The official press release can be accessed here.