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
Blessed Joseph Vaz
- January 16, 2011
Long before the word âinculturationâ came into use, Joseph Vaz showed how true Christian asceticism could be happily blended with being an Indian holy man. He entered Sri Lanka disguised as an ordinary labourer, to assist the Catholic community which was suffering under persecution from the Calvinist Dutch. Jaffna was the initial focus of his priestly ministries, but he slowly evangelized other parts of the country too. His great breakthrough came when the ruler of Kandy, a Buddhist, offered Father Vaz his protection as the result of Josephâs prayers which ended a prolonged period of drought.
Joseph Vaz mastered the local language Sinhala, and even compiled a dictionary in it for the use of his companions. He dealt with all people â kings and paupers, Buddhists and Christians, monks and ordinary folk â with respect and openness, so much so that he is considered the true model of an apostle.
He organized the first ever indigenous missionary institute in Asia, the Oratory of the Cross of Miracles, which ensured a steady supply of missionaries from India to continue his work in Sri Lanka.
Joseph Vaz died as he had lived â serene and peaceful, a light to all around him - on January 16th, 1711. Pope John Paul II proclaimed him as âblessedâ on his visit to Sri Lanka in 1995.