Shortly after Christmas, The Catholic Worker Farm hosted a faith and resistance retreat for the Feast of Holy Innocents. They were joined by members of the Dover Catholic Worker, Put Down the Sword, and Fr Martin Newell from Austin Smith House in Birmingham.
The Feast of Holy Innocents remembers the moment of the nativity story when Herod, having been double crossed by the Magi who slip home by another route, is so angry he sends out a decree that all first born sons under the age of two should be killed. (Matthew 2 vv12 – 18)
‘A voice was heard in Rama, lamentation and great mourning; it was Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted, because none is left.’
The retreatants came together to reflect on the story and ask who are the Herods of today, who are the Holy Innocents.
On the day of the Feast itself they processed to PJHQ Northwood for a vigil. They read aloud the names of the dead from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and South Sudan. They also read names of British servicemen who died in those wars. They tied ribbons to the fence, in the shape of crosses. They engaged some of the military personnel in dialogue.
This is a wonderful opportunity for reflection and mourning at one of the usually most joyful times of the year, when Love comes down from his Kingdom.