Goa’s Catholic Church to counsel seamen

May 28th, 2008 - 11:08 am ICT by admin  

By Frederick Noronha
Panjim, May 28 (IANS) Seafarers ahoy! Goa’s Catholic Church is taking note of this significant section that makes up a chunk of migrants and has set up special counselling services for seamen and their families. “These are to be organised from various points in Goa, from various parishes and institutions,” said an announcement from the Church. The counselling could focus on anything, from personal family problems to health and religious issues.

For the moment, churches at Mapusa in north Goa, Chinchinim, Mormugao and Bom Jesus (around central coastal Goa) will be taking up the challenge.

Goa’s Church says “over the years” it has always been caring for the ‘tarvotti’ (the Konkani word for seafarer), ’shippy’ (the term used to describe someone working on board the ship) or sailor.

“There are some areas in Goa more prominent than others whose husbands and fathers are seafaring workers, for example, the well-known AVC belt of Assolna-Velim-Cuncolim,” said an announcement published in Renewal, the magazine of the Goa Church.

In Tiswadi, central Goa, the village of Santo Estevam is also a place “where almost every family has a tarvotti past and present”.

There are also retreats being held with special masses, for example, on the third Thursday of every month in Sarzora and on the last Tuesday in Chinchimin.

In the port town of Mormugao, the St Francis Xavier parish has been designated a ‘port church’, which caters to the needs of visiting seafarers.

Recently, Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao, the head of Goa’s Catholic Church, dedicated a new facility for seafarers in Alto Porvorim, in the compound of the Redemptorist Fathers, called the Next Voyage Fitness Centre.

Seafarers resting at home before their next voyage will be given priority here. Membership is open for one, three, six and 12 monthly periods.

Announcing the launch of the Stella Maris Counselling Services in Goa, the Church also noted that the Apostleship of the Sea is an international Catholic network, now covering 118 countries. It also caters to land-based fishing communities.

These counselling services are being organised “from various points in Goa, from various parishes and institutions”, the Church announced. The Family Service Centre, and Laity Centre of the Archdiocese will play the role of a hub for them, it was announced.

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