Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Abbottabad Church holds its breath
Christians in the city where Osama bin Laden was killed keep a low profile and call a meeting to plot security strategy
- Kamran Chaudhry, Abbottabad
- May 3, 2011
â€śI couldnâ€™t conduct pastoral visits to homes yesterday after security increased,"Â Father Akram Javed Gill told ucanews.com.Â "A healing prayer service scheduled today and upcoming Church feasts were cancelled. Also the four policemen posted guard for the church have been put on high alert."
The priest has been in charge of the Saint Peter Canisius Catholic church since 2007 in Abbotabbad, the gateway city to the northern mountainous region.
About 150 Catholics live in the city, three of them in Bilal town where Bin Laden was killed yesterday. The police today opened the area for reporters for the first time since the assault.
Association of Churches of Hazara Division, a body of about five Churches including the Catholic Church, has called a meeting to formulate a future strategy in the area.
â€śIt is crucial to maintain peace for the scattered minority communities in the area. We alter the venue at the last moment to avoid leaking the information about the gathering in a tense atmosphere," said Father Javed.
The priest described the events as they unfolded during the raid.
â€śWe never saw helicopters flying so low. Nobody knew what was going on and we thought it was a military exercise at first," said the priest who also oversees the only Catholic school, St Peterâ€™s, in the city. About 200 students, most of them Muslims, study there.
The priest faces difficulties in his work in Abbottabad, which is home to a large military establishment. He had to build higher walls to the church compound in 2009 after Muslims objected to the Â â€śopen displayâ€ť of the statue of Mary in a grotto in the grounds.
Last year the authorities asked him to burn several copies of a pamphlet inviting Catholics for Marian devotion.
Meanwhile, Hazaras, the local ethnic group which reveres bin Laden, does not believe he is dead. Members of the group say reports of his shooting are a conspiracy by the United States.
â€śOnly God can take his life. The whole drama of capturing and killing bin Laden was penned by America to destabilize our country and hold on to its nuclear assets. Nobody saw the body," said Noman Khan, a freelance journalist.