St John the Baptist RC Church, San Juan celebrated its feast day, The Nativity of St John the Baptist, in fellowship and vibrancy. June 24 marked the 186th anniversary of the parish. The celebration began with Holy Mass; Fr Jayson Grell FMI was the celebrant.
In his homily, Fr Grell urged parishioners and visitors to take leaps of faith and to grow in wisdom as John the Baptist did. “We must learn to listen to God and seek His grace. St John’s life sends a message of faithfulness to the whole world, as such we are called to account to Jesus by the way we live our lives,” said Fr Grell.
He encouraged the congregation to reflect on St John as a great servant of God and exhibit how we can apply his life to our own.
Fr Grell also called on the multitude of youths in the congregation to reflect on the quality of the relationship they have with their parents. “If you have children who love and stick with you, praise God because you make children but you don’t make their minds.”
“Today is the perfect opportunity for parents to love their children and for children to embrace their parents as well. We are servants of God and of each other. God is gracious and His grace will sustain us.”
Minister of Health and St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh, and former Minister of Justice and MP Herbert Volney were in attendance.
Mass was followed by the annual harvest at the church grounds and basketball court. Stalls were blessed and attendees anointed.
The DJ for the event was DJ Supa Dupa (Dale Stephen), who played selections of songs which catered to the youths and those young at heart. Pamberi Steel Orchestra also performed some of 2018’s hit songs like Voice’s ‘Year for Love’.
There was also a guest performance by Renownd, a newly established acoustic local band created by professional drummer Micah Charles which kept up the harvest’s momentum despite the scattered showers throughout the day.
The outpouring of support from young people was also seen as almost every stall had young volunteers present. Twenty-one-year-old Monique Mc Leish, who has been an altar server for the past five years, said that she has always enjoyed being active in church.
Shaniqua Hernandez, 18, a member of the youth group said, “I had stopped attending church for a while but I felt an urge to come back and now I am always helping and participating in something. The youth group is always coming together for an event and I enjoy that closeness where we are encouraged to strengthen our relationship with God.”
Nicolus Michael, 31 shared his testimony. “I had left church as a teenager and got into things which I should not be doing. I made my first confession with Fr Cornelius and Fr Vincent Esprit (when he was at St John’s). The priests were always willing to listen to my problems at any time and because of that support I went into rehab and now I am sober for two years,” said Michael.
Melva Felix, choir member said, “Both of our priests are different and it is because of this difference that everyone enjoys them. Fr Cornelius has a fiery personality and gets things moving while Fr Jayson gets to the point and approaches things in depth and with wisdom. We are truly blessed as a parish to have youthful priests and deacons.” – Tenisha Sylvester