Chaplain: Costa Concordia crew showed personal sacrifice
The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken near the island of Giglio on January 18, 2012. Credit: Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images News/Getty Images
The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken near the island of Giglio on January 18, 2012. Credit: Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images News/Getty Images
By Kevin J. Jones
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The Catholic chaplain of the sunken cruise ship Costa Concordia has defended the ship’s crew from reports they were negligent towards passengers during the maritime disaster.

Fr. Rafaeli Mallena was “very upset” by initial reports that indicated the crew was not taking care of passengers.

“But I am a personal witness of people leaving their families and children and I saw personal sacrifice. There was a staff captain, for example, who saved three or four people who could not swim,” the chaplain said, according to Fr. Giacomo Martino, national director of Italy’s Apostleship of the Sea.

Fr. Mallena, who is 70, went to the ship’s chapel after he heard the first sounds of collision. Forty minutes later, hearing the “abandon ship” alarm, he consumed the Eucharist and locked the staff’s valuables in a safe.

He tried to stay aboard to help passengers, but crew members persuaded him that it would be better if he boarded a lifeboat and left the ship.

The priest has since returned to Rome where he is recovering.

Fr. Martino recounted the chaplain’s story to the U.K. newspaper The Catholic Herald.

“The work of cruise chaplains onboard is of great value to encourage and support crew and passengers at difficult moments,” said Fr. Martino. “The crew worked to save passengers with great generosity and a spirit of selflessness.”

Fr. Giacomo asked for prayers for those who have died or are missing. At least 11 are dead and 28 are missing, according to Italian press reports.

The ship sank after it hit a bank of rocks off the island of Giglio to the west of Tuscany. More than 4,200 passengers and crew were aboard.

The priest and parishioners of the island worked during the night to assist those leaving the ship. Many passengers first took refuge in churches and schools.

Local Italian chapters of the Apostleship of the Sea have been distributing clothing and food to the survivors, Vatican Radio reports. The apostleship is an international Catholic ministry serving those who work and travel on the world’s oceans and seas.

Two of the missing include Jerry and Barbara Heil of White Bear Lake, Minn., whom colleagues describe as devout Catholics. Their daughter told Chicago’s WBBM radio that her parents had been looking forward to their 16-day vacation after raising four kids and sending them to college.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 20, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Judg 13: 2-7, 24-25A
Gospel:: Lk 1: 5-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27