“THE VOLUNTEERS OF STELLA MARIS” By the Most excellent and most reverend Dr. Jaume Pujol Balcells, Metropolitan Archbishop of Tarragona and Primate of Spain.
Before the compass, the sextant and, of course, the GPS were known, the sailors oriented themselves at night observing the Pole Star, which indicated where the north was, to determine the other cardinal points and thus establish the direction of the ship.
The Church has been invoking the Virgin Mary for many centuries under the title of Stella Maris, a Latin expression that refers to this star of the sea that guides a safe harbor. She also leads us to God, our destiny of salvation.
Last Sunday we discussed the feast of the Virgen del Carmen, patron saint of navigators, and this time I would like to refer to the diocesan delegation of the Apostleship of the Sea, Stella Maris, for the reasons I have just explained.
In Tarragona this delegation was erected in 1999, during the pontificate of my predecessor Mons. Lluís Martínez Sistach, in compliance with an apostolic letter of John Paul II in which guidelines were given for apostolic action in the field of merchant marine and fishing .
I consider this task, little known but so necessary, of social and spiritual attention to the navigators, their families and the personnel that works habitually in the port, in oil platforms, nautical schools and annexed environments.
It is a performance made by volunteers. They visit ships that dock at the port, offer spiritual help, through priests who are responsible for the task, but also help the crews in cases of economic need, such as theft of documentation, business abandonment of the ship and others.
Those who have frequent contact with seafarers know how hard long family separations are, how difficult it is to navigate in certain weather conditions and how worrisome it is to exercise the fishing profession, subject to regulations that others do not always have in mind. account, to the phenomenon of globalization, piracy in some waters, and other elements.
The Apostleship of the Sea exercises its worthy function in the field of material and spiritual needs without any discrimination on the grounds of nationality, language, race or religion, as an advance in interreligious dialogue and the exercise of practical ecumenism, carried out daily with the greatest naturalness
I entrust this work to the Virgin Stella Maris, at the same time that I appreciate the important collaboration provided by the Port of Tarragona so that volunteers can develop their excellent work.
Jaume Pujol Balcells, Metropolitan Archbishop of Tarragona and Primate.
WE PREFER VOLUNTEERS
DO YOU WANT TO BE A VOLUNTEER OF STELLA MARIS?
Stella Maris carries out her activity thanks to the benevolence of volunteer peronsas. The volunteers, currently we are 6, are grouped into different activities, all forming part of the great Stella Maris family.
Activities carried out by volunteers:
Attention in the Seafarer’s Center, carrying out tasks of reception and attention to any sailor who comes to it. Engage conversation with the sailors, help them in their doubts, share with them a coffee or a soft drink.
Visits to boats: Climbing aboard the ships that arrive at our port, offering our services, taking an interest in their needs, bringing them publications in different languages and, above all, being welcoming with a great spirit of service.
Transport of sailors from the ship to our center and vice versa.
Social, legal and religious assistance. In the case of sick sailors admitted to hospital centers, the Stella Maris volunteer does an accompanying work. A volunteer lawyer, an expert in International Maritime Law, advises the seafarer in his doubts. In the case of religious attention, a deacon and a priest are available to the crews to celebrate religious services on board.
The Stella Maris volunteers welcome the sailors who visit us at the Seafarer’s Center. We offer friendship and try to collaborate in the welfare of people who have not seen their loved ones for a long time. We can not replace you but we try to make your stay in the port as pleasant as possible.
The dedications and schedules are variable according to the activity, but in principle the most important thing is regularity. There are volunteers with very varied dedications. It is very useful to know basic English and be in possession of a driving license, but it is not essential
If you are interested in obtaining more information, you can call the following telephone numbers: (+34) 977 233 083 (+34) 639 978 982, or if you prefer, come and visit us and you will see for yourself our work. We will wait for you!