AOS-USA: The Professional Association of Catholic Seafarers & Maritime Ministers

Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America


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“We assist seafarers with their spiritual needs... ...wherever and whenever they need us.”

Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America (AOS-USA) is the professional association of Catholic Maritime Ministers, Cruise Ship Priests, Mariners and all those who support the ministry to the People of the Sea.

AOS-USA provides mutual support, continuing education, and intercommunication for Catholic Maritime Ministers

AOS-USA labors on behalf of the dignity and human rights of every person in the maritime community.

Sensitive to the complex church and social environment of today's world, AOS-USA offers men and women training and formation to prepare for Catholic maritime ministry.

AOS-USA operates the Cruise Ship Priest Program for the pastoral care of cruise ship passengers and crew. We ensure that only valid priests in good standing, who have their Bishop's/Provincial's permission to serve are onboard as Chaplains.


Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America serves in many capacities. The primary activities of the AOS-USA are as follows:

Cruise Ship Priest Program

AOS-USA provides priests for service onboard Cruise Ships, in order to provide Sacramental and Pastoral Care for the Passengers, Staff and Crew onboard. Each priest is vetted and has the approval of his Competent Authority to serve in this capacity each year. In addition to providing Sacramental Care, the priest is available for confidential counseling and spiritual guidance. During unexpected times of tragedy onboard, the priest provides comfort to the hurt or grieving, in addition to spiritual and pastoral care.

Port Ministry

AOS-USA member Port Chaplains serve in many ports throughout the United States, reaching out to mariners, fishermen, dock workers, workboat operators, their families, and all who work or travel on the waterways of the world. Often away from their homes, many have little support to help maintain lasting ties with their faith and families. AOS-USA member Port Chaplains seek to accommodate mariners' unique lifestyle and needs. Most importantly, they offer the Eucharist, and the sacramental and spiritual life of the Church to the people of the sea. They also seek to ensure a safe work environment, just contracts, a genuine welcome and safe haven while in port, spiritual renewal, communication with loved ones back home, and recreational possibilities.

The Official Prayer for AOS:
“Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on all seafarers: Our Lady, Star of the Sea, St. Peter, St. Andrew, pray for us. Lord, save us or we perish.” (Mt 8:25)

In 1920, Catholic port ministry was conceived and developed in Glasgow, Scotland, by Rev. Donald Macintosh, Arthur Gannon, and Peter Anson, who were concerned about the lack of witness the Church was showing aboard ship. Two years later they approached Pope Pius XI, who bestowed his blessings on the ministry and encouraged the Apostleship of the Sea to extend its mission to the oceans and shores of all the hemispheres.

The mission of AOS-USA is to teach and witness to the Word of God and to serve God's people. And we are always expanding our services and trying new ways to provide Christian minstries by land, by sea, and beyond.

See the bios of our president and board members, and learn of their sincere dedication to making AOS-USA great and bringing ministry to the sea. Go Now