On Sunday, February 7, the parish of St Francis of Assisi in Sangre Grande stood in solidarity with various communities around the country to say, “Stop gender-based violence! Enough is enough!”
A prayer space for both female and male victims of murder and missing persons was erected at the entrance of the church. The time of prayer lasted for an hour and a half, and a special outreach was made to families in the parish who had been affected by such atrocities.
The initiative was spearheaded by Zobida Mannan with the blessings of parish priests Msgr Michael de Verteuil and Fr Matthew Ragbir. Mannan is the leader of the Women’s Ministry and a member of the Ministry Animation Team.
She noted that “as a woman and a mother, I was saddened, scared, furious and concerned about the ways in which the citizens of our country have been violated and killed over the past years. As God-fearing people of our parish, we realised it was time to take a stand. Our nation is in the middle of a great battle, and as children of God, the only way to conquer this battle, is on our knees. We need to not only pray for the victims of these vicious crimes, but their families, the justice system, and the forgiveness of those who are involved in these crimes. The best source to turn to is the Word of God.”
The time of prayer was led by both clergy and laity praying for conversion of hearts and minds, protection for those endangered, consolation for those who mourn, and wisdom for leaders to make better legislative decisions with the common good of citizens as their main focus.
Fr Ragbir noted that the prayer space will remain as part of the parish’s Lenten journey towards the new life and hope that Easter brings. “Each of us must do our part as children of God,” he said.