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
Catholic youths meet Karen refugees
Social awareness program delivers a powerful Easter message for young Asian participantsA volunteer administers eyedrops for a refugee patient
- ucanews.com reporter, Rawang
- April 26, 2011
The â€śYouth Social Awareness for Asian youth Leadersâ€ť program organized by the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs saw them head on Saturday for a two-day trip to meet 400 refugees staying in the hills of Sugai Jerlit in Rawang, 150 kilometers north east of the Malaysian capital.
Participants chatted with the refugees from Myanmar, listening to their stories, while workers belonging to the Malaysian Karen Organizations distributed or administered free medicines to several HIV patients. After staying the night, the participants celebrated Easter Mass at a nearby Church.
â€śI entered Malaysia through Thailand after paying a 1,000-ringgit [US$334] bribe to the agent,â€ť said one young refugee Saw Aku.
He said his parents were dead and the Burmese army forced him to be a porter.
â€śBut one day, when the army and rebels were fighting, I took the opportunity to run away,â€ť he said.
Most of the refugees said life in the camp was hardly ideal, but nevertheless better than Myanmar.
â€śI came to earn money as I am the oldest child in my family. I am not sure if I can go back home. If the political and economic situation improves, I will think about going back home,â€ť said Win Htut, a 15 year old boy.
Nazia, a young participant from Pakistan said that she felt sad at the plight of the refugees, especially that of Win Htut.
She said being able to spend Easter with the refugees was â€śmeaningful.â€ť
Adrian Pereira, one of the programâ€™s coordinators said Easter for the young participants had been a moving experience.
â€śAside from the normal routine of going to Church, by getting together with these poor people, we could experience the resurrected Christ,â€ť he said.
The UN estimates around there are around 100,000 Burmese refugees from various ethnic groups in Malaysia.
All of them are considered illegal aliens as Malaysia has not ratified the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees.