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
Catholics and Caritas change quality of life
Building a new future with bricks on solid groundA house at Seemawelia, Joseph Vaz state in Chilaw
- ucanews.com reporter, Chilaw
- Sri Lanka
- August 23, 2011
In the remote, impoverished parish of Seemawelia, the local church and a group of determined Catholic villagers are working with Caritas to build a set of substantial brick houses, replacing the improvised clay dwellings they have used for years.
It is perhaps ironic that the material needed to build the houses is what the residents have been sitting on all along; an irony that was certainly not lost on Shama Herath, one of the villagers.
âBusinesses often come here to dig up clay for their brick factories, yet weâve been using it for these temporary homes for years and years,â she said. âIt was Caritas who made us aware of whatâs available right here and got us motivated.â
Nissanka Fernando, a Caritas worker, explained their role in the project. âWe believe that everybody has something,â he said. âOur responsibility is just to show them what resources they have.â
Further help came from Father Jude Nicholas Fernando, director of the local diocesan Family Apostolate Centre and chairman of the Dimuthu Foundation, a Sri Lankan NGO.Â With the support of a benefactor from Italy, the Foundation has bought enough land to erect 43 new houses.
Impressed by the villagersâ effort and enthusiasm, Fr. Fernando also donated equipment to dig and transport the clay. The bricks are now being formed and three skilled masons from the village are being amply aided by several others, eager to give their labor.
The new houses will make a vast difference to the quality of life in this far-flung parish, where people have endured a miserable existence in their temporary dwellings. âThe rainy season is horrible here,â said Menika Kumari, a mother of three. âThe children are vulnerable to many sicknesses like fever and coughs.â
âThe men have to go out of the village to earn a living, laboring on farmsÂ and estates for just 250 rupees ($2) a day,â added another villager, P.K.Padmasira.
As a final difficulty, the nearest schools are too far away to be easily accessible. Once again Fr. Fernandoâs foundation has helped out, with a scheme that provides the village children with bicycles.
Catholic Priests Build Hostel for Buddhist Novices
Caritas builds jungle homes for displaced Hindus