Twenty-seven children from first grade to Confirmation were wide-eyed and eager to learn more about God’s creatures – like horseshoe crabs and seals – during a visit to Jenkinson's Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach.
“When I see the animals, I think about how we should respect them in all ways, not litter in the ocean,” said eighth-grader David Marroquin of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Keyport, one of 27 young people to visit the aquarium Sept. 21 as part of the parish’s second annual God’s Creation Day.
“Sometimes, we don’t take care of animals as God would like us to,” he said.
Photo Gallery: Jenkinson's Aquarium visit
Cathy Strauss, parish pastoral assistant, said it was important to show the young people how even in different environments, creatures – like people – can all work together.
“We wanted to show the different creatures that God has created,” she said, as well as teach the kids that though they may differ culturally, “God put all of us on this earth to be his children.”
Eleven chaperones joined the children as they checked out sharks and eels and watched trainers work with a blind seal.
“There’s so many animals here – we should appreciate that they are still here around us,” said seventh-grader Kaila Trejo.
Strauss said she was encouraged to see how the parish has grown since the 2018 merger of St. Joseph and Jesus the Lord Parishes. “It was wonderful to see the togetherness. Last year it was still a little new to be with different people from different communities, but it was wonderful today to see them all together and laughing. Now, it’s a bunch of kids that have become all friends.”
Video by freelance photographer Mike Ehrmann contributed to this report.