San Fernando priest: We must protect our children

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

[MAIN] Fr Jayson Grell, left, speaks with a young boy about his toy truck during a mass to mark the Feast of the Holy Innocents at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church, Harris Promenade San Fernando on Wednesday. – Marvin Hamilton

To harm children is something unthinkable and wicked, said a Roman Catholic priest, referring to them as “God’s gifts to each one of us.”

Fr Jayson Grell said children are innocent and helpless against acts of aggression towards them. He called on people to nurture children with love and faith so they may become God’s blessing.

“Today, we are called to always protect the unborn, the babies and our children. Let us, with the help of God, do our part so the dignity of children may be respected. They are innocent and helpless against any act of aggression towards them,” Grell said on Wednesday.

Children gather at the altar with Fr Jayson Grell at a mass to mark the Feast of the Holy Innocents at Our Lady of Perpetual Help RC Church, Harris Promenade San Fernando on Wednesday. – Marvin Hamilton

He officiated at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help RC Church at Harris Promenade San Fernando during the Feast of the Holy Innocents. For Catholics, the feast commemorates King Herod’s massacre of young children in Bethlehem in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus.

Referring to scriptures, Grell said King Herod simply could not accept the birth of Jesus Christ.

“What King Herald did not realise was that he was preparing a death sentence for himself as history would record of his tragic end.

“King Herod was directly violent and hostile to the innocent and helpless children. Let us seek to redirect our focus and attention in life that we may truly stay on the path of the Lord and his righteousness.”

He emphasised that people should not lose sight of the Lord’s salvation and grace simply because “we fail to resist temptation or resist the desires of our weakness of the flesh.”

Citing the demise of Herod, the priest warned that worldly glory, wealth and power do not last forever.

“After his death, his kingdom quickly fell apart and was divided. The magnificent temple that he had built was destroyed by the Romans merely a few years after it was completed,” Grell told the congregation.

“We must never let our desires, greed, pride or ego mislead us down the wrong path of life, as Herod’s example has shown us. But our faith in God will lead us to an eternity of true happiness and joy.”

He called on people to always remember that God is the ultimate reason they live their lives —to serve him —and not for personal ambition and glory.

“As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let us rejoice because God’s love and mercy has been shown through and extended to each one of us.

“God has extended a love that is unconditional. Let us not be afraid to continue preaching the good news of love and forgiveness, and that is the gospel message. The gospel continues to be inconvenient for many in the world, and they will do anything to silence its voice.”

Fr Jayson Grell, blesses a baby during mass at our Lady of Perpetual Help, San Fernando on Wednesday. – Marvin Hamilton

He called on people to keep the faith alive, adding, “We will spring up in greater numbers the more we are challenged. Our difficulties, our obstacles should make us stronger in faith.”

Many children brought their toys for the priest to bless them. The priest even asked many of them what toys they had brought.

Four-year-old Josiah Arthur showed his train while another parishioner Madison Joseph, five, showed her dolls.