MANILA, Sept. 26, 2012— Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle will celebrate Mass on Sunday, Sept. 30 for the more than 300,000 Filipino seafarers around the world.
Around 3,000 seafarers and their families are expected to grace the occasion that will be led by Tagle for the first time as head of Manila’s Catholic Church.
Organizers said the liturgical celebration will highlight this year’s activities for the 17th National Seafarers’ Day (NSD), knitted together with the National Maritime Week (NMW) celebration.
Organizers said the event will begin with an “ecumenical memorial at sea” at 7 a.m. at the Philippine Coastguard headquarters in Manila to honor those seamen who died on duty.
It will be followed by a parade starting at the Luneta Seafarers Welfare Foundation (Luswelf) office and ending at the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) gym where the Mass will be held at 9 a.m.
Scalabrinian missionary Fr. Paulo Prigol of the Apostleship of the Sea – Manila and a member of the NSD committee said that Vice President Jejomar Binay is expected to grace the occasion.
While the NMW is implemented under the leadership of MARINA, the NSD commemoration is organized by the Apostleship of the Sea with the theme: “Marinong Pilipino: Dakila pa rin ang Kagitingan”.
This national celebration to honor seafarers came about in 1996, through the advocacy of the Apostleship of the Sea with then President Fidel Ramos.
It was easily grabbed by the idea and with a Presidential Proclamation to celebrate nationwide the professional and financial contribution given by seafarers to the country.
In 1998 the celebration was changed to last Sunday of September, to fit with the International Maritime Day also celebrated annually on the last Thursday of September.
Church officials said this year’s festivity has become more elaborate and creative as a fitting response to the growing number of Filipino seafarers deployed on merchant and cruise ships.
This year, there are approximately 347, 150, Filipino seafarers which largely contributed to the economic growth of the Philippines. In 2011, they have brought more than US$4 billion in remittances. [RL/CBCPNews]