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May 23 is National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea

May 20th, 2016

Ninety percent of the world’s goods are transported by sea and the waterways. There are approximately 1.2 million seafarers worldwide in 10,000 commercial ships and maritime vessels. 

The National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea will be celebrated on Monday, May 23. The day is observed in conjunction with National Maritime Day in the United States, which has been celebrated since 1933, to recognize merchant mariners and others in the maritime industry.

The US Bishop’s Conference is encouraging dioceses and other ministries to mark the national day by remembering the men and women of the sea in homilies and by including special petitions during Mass. 

The Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking has provided a resource on human trafficking in the Maritime Industry. Download the resource here.

Pope Francis’ recent homily at Vatican City reminded those present that the exploitation of laborers is mortal sin, citing the Apostle James: ““Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.” The Holy Father went on to say that:

“When riches are created by exploiting the people, by those rich people who exploit [others], they take advantage of the work of the people, and those poor people become slaves. We think of the here and now, the same thing happens all over the world. “I want to work.” “Good, they’ll make you a contract, from September to June.” Without a pension, without health care… Then they suspend it, and in July and August they have to eat air. And in September, they laugh at you about it. Those who do that are true bloodsuckers, and they live by spilling the blood of the people who they make slaves of labor.”

Visit the Vatican Radio site to read about Pope Francis’ homily.

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