The Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish (OLPH), San Fernando hosted its Children’s Mass December 10 entitled ‘Children of the King’. The day also marked the second Sunday in Advent, celebrating the virtue of love, a value that was inexorably echoed throughout the morning by parish priest, Fr Martin Sirju.
Approximately 80 children from both the OLPH Sunday School and First Communion classes were in full attendance and solely responsible for all aspects of the liturgy. Mass began with the lighting of the second Advent candle by one of the children followed by a prayer for all children and people who are victims of bullying in schools and within their relationships.
“And so John the Baptist came out of the wilderness preaching a Baptism of Repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mk 1:4). The second and third week in Advent focuses on John the Baptist and his call for change: a change of mind and heart. Using the popular line from one of Bob Marley’s classics “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds”, Fr Sirju reiterated John the Baptist’s mission to encourage us to change our mentality and perception of others.
So how can we be an advocate of this change? St Paul alludes “Love is patient; love is kind” therefore, “…feed our children the sweetness of life’s honey: love, kindness, respect…” This was the mantra for the morning’s liturgy as Fr Sirju highlighted the importance of changing our mindset to one of openness and love.
He affirmed that if we use these foundations of respect and love to foster relationships with our children and others, the world can be one that is free from neglect and abuse.
The Mass also featured a special dance by some of the First Communion students for the presentation of gifts accompanied by the music ministry of the Sunday 10 a.m. choir led by Trevor Clarence. Instruments of drums and tambourines were also played by the children in the congregation during the Mass.
The liturgy ended with a musical rendition by the groups of children for the meditational hymn ‘Come Lord Jesus’ and brought into a clearer perspective the notion of opening our hearts and minds to the peace and love of the Advent season. – Sarah Ruth Dwarika