Life at sea can be difficult and lead to long periods of loneliness and depression. Since 2019, Stella Maris Nordic has been supporting seafarers and fishers in a large area stretching from Finland in the east to Greenland in the west. Now, the official maritime charity of the Catholic church in the Nordic countries has been incorporated into Caritas Denmark.
For the past two years, Stella Maris Nordic has worked to improve the lives of seafarers in Nordic ports. As the network of volunteers has grown, and the number of ship visits has increased, there is a need for a new focus on fundraising and a firmer organisational framework. Deacon David Noval, who has spearheaded the work, will return to a position in the company where he was previously employed, and Stella Maris Nordic will be incorporated into the Catholic relief organisation Caritas Denmark.
At Caritas Denmark, Michael Andrew Dolan Møller has been appointed National Director of Stella Maris Nordic. Møller has been an active volunteer in the start-up phase of the maritime charity, and he is Caritas Denmark’s parish representative in the city of Aarhus. Aarhus is also the biggest shipping port in Denmark.
Michael Andrew Dolan Møller says: “My wife Jonalyn and I have visited over 160 ships in the past year and a half. It has been an enriching experience for both of us, and hopefully we have made life a little easier for the people we have visited. We look forward to continuing this work in the new structure with Caritas.”
David Noval says: “The last two years of my full-time involvement in setting up Stella Maris Nordic have been fantastic. Many businesses, churches and individuals are now aware of the Church’s work for seafarers and fishers. It is time for a different focus, which I am confident that Caritas can bring. The hearts of Stella Maris and Caritas beat for those who need us, and that is why I am happy that Caritas can take the work in Denmark to the next level. I hope that the strong support in our network will continue in the new set-up. I am honoured to have been part of the journey and excited to see the work flourish in partnership with Caritas.”
Bishop Czeslaw Kozon says: “Caritas’ mission is to reach out to the marginalized. People at sea can also find themselves in a vulnerable position by being far from home for long periods of time and sometimes having harsh working conditions. Historically, Caritas and Stella Maris have many ties that unite. When reverend Knud Ballin founded Caritas in 1947, he was also active in the service of Stella Maris, and in recent years Caritas has supported the work of Stella Maris. I am deeply grateful for Deacon David Noval’s great work and initiative, and I look forward to seeing Caritas further develop the maritime charity.”
Martin Foley, Stella Maris European Regional Coordinator and Stella Maris UK CEO says: “Stella Maris UK will support the continued growth of Stella Maris in the Nordic countries and looks forward to working in close partnership with the new National Director, Michael Andrew Dolan Møller, and the team at Caritas Denmark. We also pay tribute to the departing National Director, David Noval, for the outstanding work he has done in re-establishing Stella Maris in Denmark. He leaves very strong foundations on which to build. We pray for David and his family as he embarks on a new chapter of his life.”