The Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) has its roots in Glasgow, Scotland, where in 1899 Fr. Joseph Egger, S.J. founded the Apostleship of Prayer Society to serve the crews of the ships calling at that port. In 1920 Brother Daniel Shields, S.J. and two laymen, Arthur Gannon and Peter Anson submitted the framework and constitutions of this young movement to the Vatican for formal approval. Approval was granted by the Holy See on April 22, 1922 by Pope Pius XI, and the Apostleship of the Sea was formally established. Today the AOS is under the direction of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant People with Antonio Maria Cardinal Vegliò serving as President.
In 1997 Pope St. John Paul II issued the Motu Proprio Stella Maris that called on all countries with seaports to establish their own AOS under the direction of the nation’s Conference of Bishops. In the United States, the AOS is under the direction of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers. Bishop J. Kevin Boland, Bishop Emeritus of Savannah, GA serves as the AOS Bishop Promotor, and Sister Joanna Okereke, HHCJ, serves as the AOS National Director.
From the start it was recognized that care of the seafaring community was the responsibility of the local church, and the Motu Proprio calls on each diocese with seaports in its territory to appoint a Port Chaplain to coordinate port ministry. On October 1, 2015 Bishop Guglielmone appointed Deacon Paul Rosenblum as the Port Chaplain for the Diocese of Charleston.
In Charleston the AOS works in conjunction with the Charleston Port and Seafarers’ Society (ChaPSS), an ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to serving the seafaring community.