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History of the AOS in Gdynia

 

The beginnings of maritime ministry in Gdynia reach back to the first post-war "thaw" in October 1956. A few months later, the then bishop of the Chełmińska diocesy, Kazimierz Józef Kowalski, entrusted the Redemptorists with the concern for seafarers and asked for consent to open the Redemptorist house in Gdynia. He proposed that close to the port a centre of maritime ministry be created to serve seafarers, fishermen and their families with pastoral ministry. He entrusted the foundation of an institution of this nature to Father Jozef Krok who initiated Redemptorist work amongst seafarers. Through his efforts Stella Maris Centre was created, housed in the basement of the monastery.

In 1993, by a decree of Father Provincial Leszek Gajda father Edward Pracz was directed to work in the ministry for Seafarers. After a period working as a chaplain on trawlers in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, in 1995 fr. Edward Pracz took over as pastor of Seafarers from Father Joseph Krok.

In 1998 the Polish Bishops Conference, meeting in Warsaw, under the guidelines set out in the Apostolic Letter “Motu proprio” by Pope John Paul II on Chaplaincy of Seafarers dated 31 January 1997, elected Father Edward Pracz to the position of Apostleship of the Sea National Director.

On 1 December 1999 by decree of the Archbishop of Gdansk Tadeusz Goclowski a public association of the faithful was founded under the name of the Apostleship of the Sea Centre "Stella Maris" in Gdynia. This association received its own charter, and the decree set before him the following objectives: "to undertake work on humanitarian, spiritual and economic and social rights for the religious formation and integration of the environment of Seafarers in accordance with the teaching and discipline of the Catholic Church”. Fr Edward Pracz became the Director of the association.

In 2001, the Apostleship of the Sea obtained legal status of the ecclesiastical organization of the Catholic Church in the Polish Republic under the name Apostleship of the Sea "Stella Maris", based in Gdynia. This was done on the basis of the Regulation of the Ministerof Internal Affairs and Administration announced in the Official Gazette No. 52 dated 26.05.2001.

 

In 2002 at the XXI World Congress of Apostleship of the Sea in Rio de Janeiro, in accordance with the guidelines contained in the "Apostolic Letter “Motu proprio" by Pope John Paul II, Chaplaincy of the Sea" dated 31 January 1997, Father Edward Pracz was nominated as  Regional Coordinator for the Apostolate of the Sea for Europe.

In 2007, in Gdynia, the XXII World Congress of Apostleship of the Sea took place. It was organized through the efforts and work of Father Edward Pracz, staff and volunteers of the Apostleship of the Sea in Gdynia. During the proceedings Father Edward Pracz was selected and nominated for a second term of office of the Regional Coordinator of the Apostleship of the Sea.



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by Dr. Radut.