The Our Lady of Guadalupe Paramin’s Men’s Ministry is currently hosting a nine-week novena ‘soaking prayer’ against illegal activity, gangs, and violence in the community. Prior to this, 48-hours of soaking prayer was held (May 2–4) for the cause.
Paramin has always been known for its scenic views, peaceful ambience, friendly community, and many delicacies but, most importantly, our elders, our prayer warriors. In the past, there were several attempts by persons wishing to create an imbalance in our community, through engaging in unlawful activities such as drugs, illegal activity, and formation of gangs. The Men’s Ministry became aware of this and used different initiatives to combat the negative forces.
Outreach programmes, ministering to youths, street walks and talks all became part of the norm in the fight against the negative forces. While walking the streets of Paramin, Cameron and Maraval, it was evident that a breakdown in family life contributed to young men’s joining of gangs and participating in illegal activities.
Many of them came from single-parent families with just a mother. Some young men never knew their father. They longed for a sense of belonging, love, and acceptance. They turned to the streets as they felt this was their home.
The murder of a gang-leader from the area has caused anxiety for residents of Paramin, Maraval and Cameron. As a community, we stand against the formation of gangs and unlawful elements entering the community.
We know there is only one true God and there are no other gods besides Him! With that being said, the only way is through prayer. An appeal came from the Men’s Ministry and the Parish Priest Fr Ronald Mendes CSSp to pray and fast.
Persons in the community committed their time for the 48 hours of prayer. The response has been overwhelming as parishioners have said to us, “we stand in unity and we will storm the gates of Heaven to stop the enemy from entering our beautiful community”.
Although the initial idea was to just have the two days of prayer, Fr Mendes suggested a novena. We decided to extend it for nine weeks of prayer, on Mondays and Tuesdays only, and fast May 2 to Tuesday, June 27.
The initiative is continuing during the lockdown and the ministry hopes to connect spiritually as we stand in the gap for our community and plead the precious blood of Jesus upon our community.
We will end the novena with Holy Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe RC with celebrant Fr Mendes and will seal the blood of Jesus at every point of entry and exit into Paramin and Cameron by way of a small procession all within the COVID-19 guidelines. We will proclaim and cover the roads in prayer and holy water. We are called to stand as watchmen for our community.
Prayer has been utilised in the past to respond to road accidents in the area. The elders in the community got together and walked the streets praying and blessing the roads. As a result, road carnage stopped, and to this day there are very few accidents that occur on the hills of Paramin.
The Men’s Ministry is an active group passionate about God, family, and community. Prior to COVID-19 several events were hosted such as: couples retreat, a day event with guest speakers invited to lecture and pray with married couples and single men; and a Road Outreach Ministry with guest speakers, including Deacon Derek Walcott, Fr Robert Christo, Archbishop Jason Gordon, who ministered to the community on different topics.
The Ministry conducted ‘Street Talk’ with the young men on the block. Our parish priest Fr Mendes together with Archbishop Gordon and members of the Ministry walked and talked with young men on the block in an effort to deter them from choosing a life of crime. They were then introduced to the farmer’s market for the youth in our parish, a new initiative to assist them with earning an honest dollar.
The Ministry’s executive comprises Fr Mendes, Fr Kenneth Vieira, President of the Men’s Ministry Liston Nicholas, Vice-President Winston Eugene, and Secretary Nicole Salvador. There are 50 active supporters in addition to wives who play a pivotal role in keeping members grounded.
–Our Lady of Guadalupe Men’s Ministry, Paramin