Apostleship of the Sea

When John Pinhay, Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) chaplain to the ports of Falmouth and Fowey received a message from a shipping agent asking that someone who could speak Polish visit a seafarer who had been taken off a vessel following a heart attack, he knew what to do.

“Fortunately, we now have several Polish families in the parish and I am particularly friendly with Greg Baczkura,” said John.

Greg along with a friend and her two children accompanied John when he visited the seafarer at the hotel in Falmouth, where he had been sent to stay after being discharged from Treliske Hospital in Truro.

“He had little or no English, but with the help of our Polish friends we soon were able to get to know him. His ship was only a few miles out of Falmouth when he suffered a heart attack,” explained John.

“The owners through the agents were taking good care of him and he wanted for nothing. However, he was glad to receive an Easter Egg and Palm Cross, along with various prayer cards.”

When the seafarer said he would like to go to Mass, Greg gave him a lift to church. Before returning home to Poland, the seafarer sent a message to John thanking everyone for their kindness and support in his hour of need.

This month [July 12] is Sea Sunday, when the Church asks us to pray for seafarers and support the work of AoS, whose chaplains and ship visitors provide practical and pastoral help in ports around Britain.

John became port chaplain to Falmouth and Fowey in 2012 after retiring from his job as a regional manager for a chain of retail outlets. He had first got involved with AoS when he became a volunteer ship visitor eight years ago.

He said he receives a lot of support from parishioners in Falmouth, Truro, St Austell and Newquay. “They collect a multitude of items through the year, which I and my ship visitors take on board the vessels we visit in Falmouth or Fowey.”

He added that he finds his work as a port chaplain more fulfilling than he could have imagined. “My role of port chaplain is a privilege, as I receive a lot more than I give whenever I go onboard a vessel.”