Catholic priest: Please, no more toy guns for Xmas

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Little Kalia Christopher, three, second from right, tells Fr Emmanuel Dafe and the congregation about her christmas gift, at a mass to mark the Feast of the Holy Innocents at The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain on Wednesday. – Angelo Marcelle

CATHOLIC priest Fr Martin Sirju is pleading with parents not to buy toy guns as gifts for their children.

He made the call during the Feast of the Holy Innocents at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Port of Spain on Wednesday.

Fr Martin Sirju is about to bless Azaria Reid, eight, at a mass to mark the Feast of the Holy Innocents, at The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain on Wednesday. On right is Fr Emmanuel Dafe. – Angelo Marcelle

Over a dozen children, along with their parents or guardians, attended the service which began at 9.30am.

Sirju is the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain and the cathedral administrator.

He said the church has recognised that the way in which TT generally cares for children “has not always been of the highest standard.”

He said lately, there has been “so many unfortunate acts” happening to children and that the country has not done as well as it should have.

He then asked the children what gifts they got for Christmas, with some saying scooters, earrings, a fashion book, slime, among other things.

After some responses, Sirju said, “I hope nobody got (toy) guns. We have enough guns in this society.”

He said his statement stands for all types of toy guns, “whether it’s a space gun or a regular (toy) gun.

“I hope we’ve reached the stage where we do not give children guns.”

Later on, he asked the audience: “How can we reduce evil that takes place in our country, in our city, in our home…How can we reduce evil that happens to children?”

A group of children at a mass to mark the Feast of the Holy Innocents at The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain on Wednesday. – Angelo Marcelle

He said there are several ways to do this, but the main one was love.

He also offered a public apology to all children who were victims of abuse at children’s home throughout the country.

Sirju prayed for the children there and blessed their parents and urged everyone to do more to protect children.