2011-12-15 Vatican RadioThe Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People has issued a special Christmas Message for people who depend on the sea for their livelihood and well-being. The Pontifical Council is responsible for the Church’s Apostleship of the Sea, the missionary and pastoral work carried out in favour of the rights and dignity of seafarers and their families. Below is the full text of the 2011 Christmas Message :
Dear People of the Sea,
On Christmas Day we are invited to reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation of the eternal Word of God, as we read in the first chapter of the Gospel of Saint John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:1-14).
The mystery of the Incarnation brings first and foremost a message of universal Love which we are invited to share in the increasingly international, multicultural and multireligious maritime world. A Love that embraces all the people of the sea without barriers or discriminations and becomes the foundation of a new way of living together respecting the diversity and dignity of every human being.
This mystery is the celebration of Emanuel, the “God with us”, which invites us to be Jesus' witnesses in the ever more varied world of the sea to become instruments of a new evangelization showing how the Christian prospective enlightens, in an unprecedented way, the great problems of history. (Synod of Bishops, XIII Ordinary General Assembly, Lineamenta, 7).
Moreover, Christmas announces that the Word of God was incarnated in our divided and imperfect human reality in order to bring it to perfection. With the power that comes to us from the Lord Jesus who walks together with all of us, we want to commit ourselves in finding lasting solutions to the different problems you have to face every day, including exploitation and abuses in the working environment, the criminalization of your actions, the abandonment in foreign ports, the separation from your families and the ever more threatening danger of piracy.
As I wish you a Holy Christmas, I hope that the gifts of joy, peace and serenity brought by the Baby Jesus will reach you wherever you may be, and will be shared by your families and bear fruits of love and happiness.
With all best wishes,
Antonio Maria Vegliò