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PRAYERS FOR MURDERED CHILDREN

By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, December 29 2013

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Members of the Roman Catholic community, including scores of children, yesterday prayed for the souls of the youngsters who were brutally murdered in this country during the course of 2013.

During a special service to celebrate the feast of Holy Innocents on the Brian Lara Promenade, Independence Square, in Port-of-Spain, believers also observed one minute of silence in reverence to the young children who were killed — some by persons whom they had known — during the past ten years. The service preceded a walk along the Promenade in which the children, dressed mostly in red, held placards condemning the spate of violence against youngsters. “Flagman” (Peter Diaz), immaculately dressed in national colours, led the procession. Some 28 children were reportedly killed violently during the year. These included six-year-old Maloney schoolgirl Keyana Cumberbatch, Jabari Hernandez, Sidney Stellan and baby Jacob Jadon Munroe, whose tiny body was found stuffed in a purple cloth sack in the cesspit at the back of his father’s house in Maracas, St Joseph, in November. The killings prompted Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to establish a special Task Force to deal specifically with protecting the rights of children. The task force is led by social activist Diana Mahabir-Wyatt. According to wikipedia, the feast of Holy Innocents, which is commemorated annually around the world on December 28, marks the massacre of baby boys by King Herod, the Roman- appointed King of the Jews, in his attempt to kill the Christ child. Herod had ordered the execution of all young male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn king of the Jews. Delivering the homily, Roman Catholic priest Fr Clyde Harvey told the children that although Christmas was a joyful period for many people, it was also a time of great suffering for others. “Christmas is not only about fun, but hurt and pain. There are children in parts of the world that are not happy at all,” he said, alluding to Syria, which is bitterly cold during this time of year. Harvey, parish priest of Rosary/Gonzales, told the youngsters they should be mindful of the fact that “we are not alone in the world.”

“Even as we enjoy life, there are others in the world who are suffering and in pain,” he said, urging them to spare a thought for others who are not as fortunate as they are.

Harvey also extended kudos to parents who go the extra mile in raising their children. “Most children are treasured and honoured,” he said, adding that grandparents also play a tremendous role in the lives of their grandchildren. Yesterday’s event, presided over by Fr Kenneth Assing, featured brave presentations by young parishioners from the Port-of-Spain Archdiocese. The readings were done by Jewel St Louis and Annalise Emmanuel while the intercessory prayers were delivered by Lyanna Pope, Kethisha Cudjoe, Curtis Brisbane and Daniel Marshall. Jarius Phillip and Anthony Martinez presented a prayer to the Holy Innocents.

Towards the end of the service, Fr Assing blessed the toys which the children had received from their parents and loved ones on Christmas Day.

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