Holy Innocents remembered

By  Emalyn Franco-Romano, Catholic Register Special
  • January 4, 2008

{mosimage}TORONTO - Former U.S. president John Fitzgerald Kennedy once said,  “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”

On Dec. 28, Catholic parishes around the world gathered together to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Innocents. At St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto, patrons gathered in droves to celebrate the special Mass dedicated to innocent children who died at the hands of Herod and his soldiers around the time of Christ’s birth more than 2,000 years ago.

Throughout the years the Mass has also become means of prayer for innocent lives lost because of abortion.

Fr. Larry Marcille, pastor at Blessed Sacrament parish in Toronto, has been attending the Holy Innocents Mass at St. Michael’s every year.

“I’ve been coming here for a number of years, not only because of the Holy Innocents, but also because of the pro-life aspect of it and I think it’s a good connection between the two,” said Marcille. 

As written in the Gospel of Matthew, when the three wise men were looking for baby Jesus they asked King Herod of Rome about the location of the baby who was foretold to be “King of the Jews.” Upon hearing about this prophesy, King Herod feared his throne was in jeopardy. He then ordered that all male children under the age of two be put to death. 

Fr. Owen Keenan, associate pastor at St. Michael’s, believes the Mass is a good way to bring Christians together, especially because of the time of year when most celebrate the birth of Christ. He also believes that coming together in prayer helps the pro-life aspect of the Holy Innocents celebration

“This Mass is offered in honour of the Holy Innocents — those children whom Herod had killed under two years of age in his effort to destroy the Saviour and the (children’s) souls are among the first to die in the name of Christ,” said Keenan. “It has become for us the Mass in which we remember all those children who were sacrificed needlessly through abortion. The church prays for them and calls to minding the culture the need to protect all life.”

Archbishop Thomas Collins presided over the Mass. He said he believes that the month of December is a good time to remember the people who died for Christ.

“We reflect on the martyrdom that surrounds (the Christmas) season,” said Collins.

(Franco-Romano is a freelance writer in Brampton, Ont.)

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