Pontifical Council for the Pastoral
Care of Migrants and Itinerant People



Pontifical Council for the Pastoral care of Migrants and Itinerants

Apostleship of the Sea


Christmas Message 2012

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." (Luke 2,8-12)

As in the Holy Night of Christmas when "there was no room for the Holy Family", the shepherds, like millions of seafarers and fishers, "were awake keeping the night watch....". Like the Angel of the Lord, our gaze is turned to those who, far from their home, are awake and “keep watch” during sailing, or painstakingly and tirelessly recover their nets in the hope of a good catch to bring home their daily bread.

First to you, people of the sea, and to your families far away, the announcement of the birth of Baby Jesus is entrusted. The Angel invites you to:

- Not to be afraid because this Child in swaddling clothes is born for you and willing this promise not to leave you until the end of the world. The Church, through the Stella Maris Centers, wants to be a visible sign of this promise by welcoming you in its ports and celebrating the Holy Mass of Christmas on board, or reaching you via radio or satellite in the middle of the sea;

- Come and adore this Child on behalf of all of mankind so that, knowing the art of sailing, you can show the world the way to the safe port that is Jesus Christ;

- To recognize in Mary, Star of the Sea, the firm point of reference in your navigation both earthly and spiritual matters;

- To sing along with the angels in heaven, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2, 14) teaching us that the sea does not divide but can unite people of all nations.

This year, to you, the evangelizers of both land and sea, is entrusted this important mission and announcement whose mystery is repeated on Christmas night.

We express to you our gratitude for your life of sacrifices that offers us the opportunity  to share our goods from one side of the world to the other, creating a harmony in the maritime world among the "the people He loves."

May the peace and joy of the New Born Child Jesus reach you, wherever you are.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Antonio Maria Card. Vegliò




                                                                                                Fr. Gabriele Bentoglio