Priest: Protect children from abuse, poverty

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

This little girl brought along her doll for a blessing during the Feast of the Holy Innocents mass at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Harris Promenade San Fernando on Thursday. – Photo by Roger Jacob

Fr Jayson Grell says Christians must protect children and provide them with an environment where they can thrive.

Dozens of congregants gathered at the Pro-Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, San Fernando on Thursday along with their children or grandchildren as they observed the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

The day honours the memory of the infants slaughtered by King Herod in Bethlehem and environs after the birth of Jesus.

In his homily, Grell reminded the flock of the atrocities committed by King Herod, who sought to protect his claim to power.

Fr Jayson Grell blessing children during the Feast of the Holy Innocents mass at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Harris Promenade San Fernando on Thursday. – Photo by Roger Jacob

However, he said there are numerous testaments globally that people like him continue to exist today.

“There are so many heartless, senseless, troubled and evil people in our world today. So many people take advantage of our children, advantage of the elderly, advantage of migrants, advantage of vagrants, advantage of the most vulnerable. We see them in the world.”

Grell said these acts must not go unopposed, especially by the children of Christ, who must “stand up for justice and peace in our world.”

He said too often children around the world are left starving, plagued by disease, violence, abuse and poverty.

“They are born specially in the eyes of the children of God, and one child who is abused is too many. One child who is hungry is too many. A child who is lonely, a child who’s isolated, a child who has lost focus and has lost a sense of purpose is too many.”

“It’s important that we understand that we have a fundamental responsibility to protect one another, to protect our children. That is our core goal as Christians: to create that space where every child can grow and become the best version of themselves.”

He said children are the future, and allowing them to become the best version of themselves could have immeasurable benefits to the country and the Caribbean region. Grell also added that leaving behind a legacy of helping those in need is worth doing.

“The acts of love, rendered in faith, that we leave behind us are the greatest legacy we could leave because they honour God.”

During the mass, the children were given communion and blessed by Grell.

Fr Jayson Grell blessing several children during the Feast of the Holy Innocents mass at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Harris Promenade San Fernando on Thursday. – Photo by Roger Jacob