Schools in the Diocese of Westminster now have access to a new set of schools resources for the Jubilee Year of Mercy produced by Catholic seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) and Catholic writer Greg Watts.

The presentation gives pupils a unique and interesting view of how AoS port chaplains live out the seven Corporal Works of Mercy in their daily ministry, with real-life examples of spiritual and practical support to seafarers in need.

Seafarers are responsible for bringing us around 95% of the goods we buy and consume, from iPads to bananas and cars to fridges, 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.

In one example under the Giving Alms to the Poor section in the resource, AoS National Director Martin Foley says that sometimes AoS is called upon to provide financial help to seafarers. ‘Typically this happens when members of a crew haven’t been paid by the ship’s owner. This also seriously affects their families, who rely on the money seafarers send home to buy the basics for daily life.’

Many parishes in Westminister support AoS’ work through its annual Sea Sunday appeal held every July, when churches across the country pray for seafarers. Collections from the appeals are used to help provide financial as well as pastoral and material support to seafarers.

John Green, AoS Director of Development, said, ‘The subject of the sea and the lives of seafarers touches many aspects of the national curriculum and is a fundamental part of this country’s heritage.’

Cardinal Vincent, who visited the port of Tilbury in Essex in 2015 to see the work of AoS, said, ‘When families sit around a table together it’s important to think about where the food that they are eating comes from, where the chairs they are sitting on come from, where the building materials from their houses come from. Nearly all of it arrives by ship.’

The easy to use and engaging Year of Mercy resource gives students the opportunity to learn about the world of shipping and seafarers and the work of AoS. The resources can be download and used for free by clicking here