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
Bishops urge people to value life
Pastoral letter to be sent in September to appeal for respect for lifeTaiwan bishops holding their spring plenary meeting
- Francis Kuo, Taipei
- April 20, 2012
The letter to be issued in September is aimed at combating â€śspiritual emptiness and divisions in society,â€ť Father Otfried Chan, the conferenceâ€™s secretary general, said yesterday.
â€śThe wrong sex education derived from wrong policies encourages an open sexual attitude, while high prices and heavy debts push many people to suicide,â€ť he added.
The bishops have also decided to promote devotion to Saint Gianna, patron of unborn children, to encourage people not to have abortions or reject life.
According to the Department of Health, around 240,000 women have had an abortion or used abortion-inducing drugs during each of the past three years.
A civil group estimates the actual number could be as many as 500,000 a year, including operations in back-street â€śclinics.â€ť
Eight of the islandâ€™s bishops gathered at the conferenceâ€™s new headquarters last week to set out plans for the Year of Faith, which has been declared by Pope Benedict XVI to begin in October.
The three-day plenary meeting also decided to establish a â€śmarried diaconal systemâ€ť with Taipei archdiocese being the pilot before expanding it to six other dioceses.
A married diaconal system is whereÂ onlyÂ married laymen can be ordained as deacons.
More laypeople are studying theology nowadays so the time is ripe to establish the system to resolve problems of ageing clergy and lack of vocations, said Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei.
During the meeting, Archbishop Hung was re-elected president of the bishopsâ€™ conference for another four-year term and Archbishop Peter Liu Chen-chung of Kaohsiung became vice-president.