Reflections for Today
From the real-world sublime and challenging….
Jane and I arrived back on a ‘clean ship’ from our South American Exploration on Monday 16th March, and immediately went into a not so ‘glorious isolation’. We had had some preparation for this by being in our sixty square feet cabin for 70 nights.
We would like to share some highlights and reflections on this extraordinary voyage. We hope you enjoy the journey!
To set the scene I was asked by the Fred Olsen Cruise line, via Mission to Seafarers, to serve as Ship’s Chaplain on the Balmoral from 6th January – 16th March. Our voyage was via 25 ports and 15 countries. Three days out of Southampton our first port of call was Lisbon where we experienced all things Portugese not forgetting the tarte de nartas.
We started our pilgrimage by visiting the monastic church of Saint Jerome where the tomb of Vasco de Gama the explorer was laid to rest. He opened up the routes to India where he died of Malaria in Cochin, Kerala in 1524. (We visited his original resting place there two years ago). So we paid respects to the explorer who gave us the first taste of the spices from India and joining the west to the orient.
Lisbon is a city of bridges, parks and seven hills. The two main road bridges are the red ochre coloured 25th April Revolution bridge built in 1966 and the Vasco de Gama Bridge completed in 1998, a six lane 75 mph toll road seven and a half miles long.
We caught the first sight of Christo Rei, Christ the King (photo) from the red bridge. The statue is 90 feet high with Christ looking out over the river Tagus and embracing the city of Lisbon. Christ the King is quite a sight up close with two chapels at its base dedicated to Peace and to the Blessed Sacrament.
One of the nuns we met at the chapels gave us a children’s explanation of the monument to pass on to our grandchildren. The Catholic bishop of Portugal had vowed at Fatima in April 1940 that if Portugal was spared from the second world war a monument of Christ rising over Lisbon would be built. In 1959 300,000 people witnessed its dedication.
A couple from Colombia took our photos there as we thought about what lay ahead at the glorious feet of Christ. It brought back memories of standing at His feet at the foot of the Christ in Glory tapestry in Coventry Cathedral. Dedication thoughts to offer up the adventures ahead…..
And so on to Funchal…..
Blessings! And keep safe…..
Edward and Jane