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Effort begins to raise Costa Concordia


(Vatican Radio) A complex project to raise the cruise ship Costa Concordia began on Monday, more than a year after it capsized off the Italian island of Giglio. Thirty-two people were killed when the Concordia crashed into a reef on January 13, 2012. Two of the bodies were never recovered.

During the ordeal, both on the ship and later on land, the ship’s chaplain, Father Rafaeli Mallena, ministered to those affected.

“The chaplain on board the Costa Concordia was pretty much hands on when it came to helping out and providing pastoral support at a difficult time,” said Father Paul Mason, who often serves as a chaplain on cruise ships originating in the United Kingdom.

Father Mason told Vatican Radio it is important for a ship’s chaplain to be alongside the passengers and the crew during times of difficulty, sharing their suffering and offering them support.

“I think the expectation is that you don’t go running for a lifeboat, but people will have some sort of need,” he said. “If the ship has run into trouble then there are going to be anxieties right across the ship, from crew, officers, passengers.”

Listen to the full interview by Charles Collins with Father Mason: RealAudioMP3