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 urged to remain calm
Priests urge parishioners not to retaliate after Hanoi church, convent attacksSome 5,000 Catholics praying for the government to return Church properties at Thai Ha Church
- ucanews.com reporter, Ha Noi
- November 8, 2011
Tens of thousands of people attended 10 special Masses celebrated by the Redemptorists last weekend at Thai Ha Church in the capital.
Each Mass was attended by an estimated 3,000-5,000 people.
During the Masses, priests told parishioners about the attacks and appealed to them to stay calm.
On November 3, around 100 people, accompanied by security officials and members of the press, attacked the convent. They damaged a gate and verbally abused and physically assaulted several Redemptorist priests and lay people.
They fled after the churchâ€™s bell rang out which brought many people rushing to the scene.
â€śWe strongly condemn this violent, rude and organized attack,â€ť Redemptorist Father Joseph Nguyen Van Phuong, told one congregation.
The parish pastor urged them to â€śforgive them and avoid retaliation.â€ť
He said the motive behind the attack probably stems from an ongoing dispute with the government over seized Church property.
â€śWe are determined to fight for Church property in a peaceful way and urge the government to punish the rioters,â€ť he added.
Local state-run media reported the attackers were locals who were angry at parish opposition to a government-run sewage treatment project close to the nearby Dong Da hospital.
Church sources said 40 Redemptorists and parishioners took to the streets in protest on October 27 to oppose the project and demand the return of several of the hospitalâ€™s buildings which had been convents since 1931.
The government â€śborrowedâ€ť and have been using the buildings since 1959.
The same sources said the authorities plan to demolish the buildings to construct a new one.
Yesterday hundreds of local Catholics marched to the headquarters of the Peopleâ€™s Committee in Quang Trung ward to demand the authorities respect private ownership and return what they say belongs to the Church.
They said 97 old Church facilities in Hanoi are in the hands of the government.