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
Alcoholism and crime wave among ethnic youths
Rising tide of violence is causing alarmHo Thi Quo (center) with the wounds inflicted to her back by her husband
- ucanews.com reporter, Hue
- February 10, 2012
When she was Â two months pregnant, he cut off four of her fingers and slashed her repeatedly, leaving 26 deep cuts on her back. He is now serving a six year jail term for the assault but Quo says, âI still fear he will beat me after he leaves prison.â
Without hesitation she blames his violence on local alcohol peddlers, who only started trading in their area in recent years. âIn the past he worked hard, respected me and loved me,â says Quo. âHe attacked me because I had no money for him to buy liquor.â
This is only one instance of a rising tide of violence that is causing alarm in the mountainous province of Thua Thien Hue.
âWe are deeply concerned about the growing social evil among the ethnic youths,â says Father Joseph Duong Bao Tinh of Son Thuy parish. âThey steal from local people so they have money to spend on drinking, computer games and gambling.
âIn the evenings, as many as 30 gangsters stop people on the streets to ask for money or threaten them and steal their motorbikes. Some Â of them abandon their spouses, or beat them and force them to work and give them the money.
âFive of our parishioners have been robbed on the way to the church. Some choir members and children donât dare to come.â
Father Tinhâs parish does what it can to stem the tide, offering basic education and courses in vocational skills, human and religious values and even teaching some of the young Catholics to play the organ.
But with high illiteracy among the ethnic groups, education is an uphill battle.
Father Tinh believes the violence and alienation is a by-product of consumerism. It was only in the 1990s that the area started to get paved streets, a market, restaurants and other trappings of modern urban life.
âAfter that, the young people started to fall into evil ways and violence,â he says.