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
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
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:
to be afraid
in swaddling clothes
born for you
willing this promise
leave you until the end
of the world.
The Church, through
- 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