A local ministry to seafarers is thrilled with the donation of a new hybrid van.
Deacon Dileep Athaide, a chaplain with the Apostleship of the Sea, said the 7-seat gift from the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) is a great gift to the sailors he ministers to at Vancouver Port, Delta Port, and the Westshore coal terminal.
“Seafarers visiting Vancouver from around the world will be well-served by this vehicle,” said the Catholic chaplain, a permanent deacon with the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
Deacon Athaide officially blessed the van in the presence of representatives of ITF and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Jan. 9, but he has been using it since early December. He drives workers from their ships to local malls, pharmacies, car rental offices, restaurants, and even to Sunday Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Ladner.
He said the drives help seafarers with practical needs, encourage socializing with locals, and provide a chance for him, as the driver, to strike up conversations and “facilitate further pastoral opportunities.”
Deacon Athaide also uses the van to travel between ports and to pick up day-old bread and pastries from Cobs bakery twice a week for the seafarers.
The vehicle is insured by the Archdiocese of Vancouver.