By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, July 11, 2019: Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) has appointed Father Roque Noronha as the new national coordinator of Port Chaplains in India.
Born on November 2, 1965, in Margao, Goa, Fr. Noronha was ordained a priest on May 7, 1994, for the Society of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier (SFX) or the Pilar Society. He holds a Masters degree in Social Work and another one in Business Administration. He is fluent in English, Hindi, Konkani and Assamese.
Presently he is the port chaplain at Kolkata Port, West Bengal. In addition to this responsibility, he serves as a Parish Priest in the Archdiocese of Calcutta as well as the Manager of English and Hindi Medium Schools in the city of Kolkata.
Bishop Alex Vadakkumthala, the AOS Episcopal Promoter, in India while announcing the appointment said, “India has about 14 major ports and we have 14 chaplains to look after the social and spiritual needs of the seafarers.”
The prelate expressed his hope that Fr. Noronha will be a great support to the Seafarers. The Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) is affiliated to CBCI Office for Labour in India.
The AOS is an association of the Catholic Church. It is also sometimes known as Stella Maris (Star of the Sea). Founded in Glasgow, Scotland in the year 1920, it provides pastoral care to seafarers through chaplaincies in ports in all continents of the world.
AOS provides practical and pastoral care to all seafarers, regardless of nationality, belief or race. AOS port chaplains and volunteer ship visitors welcome seafarers, offer welfare services and advice, practical help, care and friendship.
The Apostleship of the Sea is part of an international network known to the maritime world as Stella Maris, working in more than450 ports served by 400 Catholic port chaplains in more than 100 countries around the world.
Simultaneously there are also other associations work for the welfare of the seafarers like Mission to the Seafarers (Flying Angels), Sailors Society and other movements. 90% of world trade is transported by ship. However, the life of a modern seafarer can be dangerous and lonely. They may spend up to a year at a time away from home, separated from their family and loved ones and often working in harsh conditions. The Apostleship of the Sea relies wholly on voluntary contributions.