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 in Laos welcome new priest
First priest ordained for Luang Prabang in 30 years, says Church sourceFather Pierre Buntha Silaphet (second left) during his ordination Mass
- ucanews.com reporter, Thakhet
- January 31, 2011
Father Pierre Buntha Silaphet was ordained a priest for Luang Prabang apostolic vicariate on Jan. 29 by Bishop Louis Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun of Pakse at a service attended by some 1,000 people of Catholic and other denominations.
Church sources say Luang Prabang vicariate has not had a priestly ordination for more than 30 years.
Father Buntha, 34, is from Sayaboury village, northern Laos. The ethnic Khomu priest is the youngest of a family with seven siblings. His parents are farmers.
After finishing his philosophical and theological studies at St. John Vianney Major Seminary in Thakhek, he also studied English for one year in the Philippines.
Father Bunthaâ€™s ordination, originally scheduled for Dec. 12 at Sayaboury parish church, was postponed by local army officials for security reasons. The church is in front of an army camp.
A priest who asked not to be named told ucanews.com that 20 Sayaboury villagers were prevented from traveling to Father Bunthaâ€™s ordination by village guards on Jan. 28.
However, villagers from other villages throughout the country offered Father Buntha rice, cattle, cooking items, blankets and pillows.
There are about 43,000 Catholics in Laos, out of a total population of about 6 million, most of whom are Buddhists, according to a Church source in Laos. Less than15 priests and 100 nuns serve Catholics in the four Church jurisdictions â€” Luang Prabang, Pakse, Savannakhet and Vientiane apostolic vicariates.
Ordination of Luang Prabang priest postponed
Bishops focus on formation and vocations