by ROWENA OREJANA
CHRISTCHURCH — The Apostleship of the Sea New Zealand is to re-establish its services to an estimated 5000 seafarers in Lyttelton by the second half of the year.
Apostleship of the Sea national director Fr Jeff Drane, SM, said they are working ecumenically and collaboratively with the Mission to Seafarers and International Seafarers Society in putting up a new centre at Port Chalmers.
He said they expected the number of seafarers using the port to increase when the cruise ships currently using Akaroa Harbour return in two years.
Akaroa Harbour became the primary destination for cruise ships visiting Canterbury because of earthquake damage in Lyttelton Harbour.
“The new centre will offer WiFi services to seafarers to be able to contact family and offer advice and referral to agencies such as immigration, health and financial services if needed and also assist seafarers visit retail outlets,” he said.
The three groups have formed the Lyttelton Seafarers Trust. They had
been meeting with the Christchurch City Council (CCC) Community Services Board to set up a “Portacom” centre at the entrance to the port.
“Funding has been obtained and there is a delay with consent by CCC
because of new codes since the earthquake, but it should be up and running by the second half of the year,” he said.
Fr Drane said they are looking for volunteers. “There is a hope that they are principally Filipino and preferably from the younger generation, as this is a new work that will go for some time and
needs younger people for ship visiting — which often involves walking gangways and decks,” he said. The national director said most of the seafarers are Filipinos.
He explained the apostleship globally is under the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Itinerant People. “Volunteers are regarded as official ministers of the
Catholic Church,” he said.
He added the initial training will be comprehensive but easy. “Detailed explanations are given on how to be a minister in this apostolate. We offer ongoing support and development as
well,” he said. He pointed out that 80 per cent of seafarers around the globe are Catholic, so referral to local parish services is vital.
“Volunteers are never short of work to do and current members are well known for being fun loving and warm. The key requirement is that ministers are there to serve, and proselytising is not part of the job,” he said.
Fr Drane said those interested in being a volunteer in Lyttelton need to contact local pastoral coordinator Fr Dan Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or national director Fr Jeff Drane at jeffdrane@
by ROWENA OREJANA