Seafarers ministry brings Christmas cheer to those far from home


FLOATING HOLIDAY: Father Jim Boyd, left, celebrates Christmas Mass aboard the Dole cargo ship. (Credit: Courtesy Stella Maris Seafarer's Center)

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SAN DIEGO — For the first time in four years, Father Jim Boyd was able to organize a Christmas celebration for the crew aboard the Dole cargo ship.

This festive holiday tradition had been prohibited in recent years because of COVID-19 safety protocols.

Father Boyd, chaplain of the Stella Maris Seafarer’s Center at the Port of San Diego, celebrated onboard Masses on Dec. 26, Jan. 1 and Jan. 8.

There was also Christmas caroling, led by the Filipino Choir of Holy Family Parish, and dancing. Santa Claus himself even stopped by with presents for the crew.

The event was intended as a way to spread Christmas joy among those whose livelihoods require them to be far from their families, not only during the Christmas season, but also for much of the year. The crew members showed their appreciation by preparing a meal to share with their guests.

Additionally, the Stella Maris Seafarer’s Center brought back another tradition this year that had been sidelined by the pandemic.

On Dec. 16, Father Boyd accepted donations of Christmas-wrapped shoeboxes filled with toiletries, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, combs, razors and shaving cream. These were to be distributed to the crews of the various ships that would be docking in San Diego during the Christmas season.

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