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Archbishop Harris: Don’t turn a blind eye to suffering of others

Thursday, December 26, 2013
Fr Kenneth Assing, right, speaks with Archbishop Joseph Harris before the start of Christmas Eve Mass at Sacred Heart RC Church, Richmond Street, Port-of Spain, on Thursday. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE

“This event is meant to fill us with great hope not amnesia,” said Archbishop Joseph Harris, delivering his Christmas Eve homily at Sacred Heart Church, Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain. He reminded T&T that even in the midst of celebrating what is good, the nation must never turn a blind eye to the suffering of others. 



While he assured that Christmas would always be worthy of festive celebrations, he cautioned against ignoring the tragic events that have afflicted the land over the past year. He likened those celebrating in that manner to ostriches hiding their heads in the sand, “until of course, disaster strikes close to home.”



This Christmas Eve, in the midst of festive celebrations, he called on his congregation to remember that more people had already been murdered this year than last year’s 383; to remember that 28 of the murder victims this year were minors; to remember that seven of them were under the age of 12; and to remember all the lives lost in road accidents.


He acknowledged in his homily that there were still many things for which believers should be grateful to their Lord and that many people would say that things are not as bad as they seem. “That is true,” he said. “But we could be thanking God for much, much more, and I wonder if the parents, family and friends of those who have lost babies, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, are seeing much for which to thank God.”


He urged the congregation to act as beacons of light to help guide and comfort those who are living in darkness and despair this Christmas: to help guide and comfort those whose lives have been drastically altered by violent crimes or the death of loved ones. He called each individual to be a bearer of hope who brings peace into the lives of others. 


“Let us not be ostriches hiding our heads in the sand,” he urged. “Let us be disciples hearing the message of Christmas and taking it to the farthest corners of our land, especially to those who think that they have no reason to hope.”


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