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
Church woes attract US attention
Religious leaders offer support to ChristiansA pastor reads a letter from interfaith leaders during Easter service (Siktus Harson)
- Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
- April 1, 2013
Religious leaders from the United States sent an Easter letter of support to Protestants whose church in West Java was closed by local authorities three years ago.
“We, as diverse faith leaders in the United States stand in solidarity with your community as you strive to express your religious beliefs in freedom and without fear of persecution,” the Jewish, Muslim and Protestant leaders said in their letter to the Christian Church in Indonesia (GKI), Taman Yasmin congregation.
The letter was read aloud in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta during an Easter service organized by the GKI and the Batak Society Christian Church (HKBP) Philadelphia, both restricted churches in this Muslim-majority country.
“We were deeply saddened to learn of the harassment that your community faces in Indonesia, a religiously diverse and vibrant country that faces many challenges in protecting the human rights of all its citizens, including the right to freedom of religious expression among people of minority faith traditions,” the letter said.
“We stand together against the desecration of all holy places,” it continued.
The GKI Taman Yasmin congregation has been banned from using their church because of alleged irregularities regarding a 2006 building application. A Supreme Court ruling which has been backed by the Ombudsman saying the congregation has the right to worship in the church, has been ignored by the local mayor. Protestants from the HKBP of Philadelphia are embroiled in a similar case.
Both GKI Taman Yasmin and HKBP Philadelphia have been organizing services in front of the Presidential Palace since February 2012.
“We want President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to immediately take action,” GKI Taman Yasmin’s spokesman Bona Sigalingging told ucanews.com. “We’ve raised this many times before, but there is no solution.”
About 200 church members and human rights activists attended the Easter service.