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
Young Catholics take to the streets
Christian youth group reaches out to society's poorest in Western NepalCatholic girls giving out snacks to street children in Pokhara
- Prakash Khadka, Pokhara
- February 8, 2011
Last weekend, after helping the parish priest conduct the main Saturday morning Mass, a dozen young people held a forum with older parishioners on issues including good parenthood and abortion. After that they went to a slum area near the cityâs bus station, accompanied by the parish priest and a group of Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity.
They sang songs and hymns for the children using the âmadal,â the local drum, and greeted the children with âPraise be to the Messiah.â One child said he thought it was "a greeting in Godâs language.â
The group of more than 30 street children were given lunch and snacks by the young people, who said they felt very emotional while serving the meal.
After returning to the parish, some of the young people took time working to find ways in which they could help these children in areas such as hygiene and education on a regular basis in the future.
Next day the youth group held more discussions at the parish hall on human rights issues in Nepal in relation to biblical values.
Jesuit parish priest Father Arul Selvam said a youth leader from Kathmandu has also helped conduct recent sessions on human rights awareness for high-school girl students at St. Maryâs school (run by the Companions of Jesus sisters) in Pokhara.
Santosh Thapa, a parish youth leader, said: âWorking for poor orphans and the helpless, and feeding the hungry, is the work of charity, demonstrating the real values of the gospel.
âAfter going through formation programs run by Catholic youth from Kathmandu we are even more motivated to get involved in church activities on a more regular basis.
âI am very happy that the youth help out in the parish these days and are ready for any task,â said Father Arul. He said the youth group is planning to conduct evangelization programs in nearby villages using dramas and programs in the near future.
âHowever our youth need some more retreatsâ, commented Missionaries of Charity Sister Mary Domina, who has been helping motivate the youth group in the parish and accompanied them to the slums.
âLast July at a youth meet we had vowed to reach out to others and we are doing it slowly. Our group has even been cleaning the streets in different parts of the city to set examples,â Santosh Thapa said.
He said, âWe have realized that to be ready to accompany our parish priest during family visits to homes of both Catholics and other denominations is also part of our parish activities.â
Father Selvam told ucanews.com: âWe have got more than a dozen energetic parish members. After having started a Vincent De Paul church group we are also trying to start a small Focolare Movement. The youths can help reach out to villages like Mirta about 25 kilometers away - they can perform local dances and communicate the parables through them. Individuals are interested in learning more about Christianity so I travel a lot these days and meet them. The youth group is a lot of help and growing.â