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
Converts who come at a cost
China‚Äôs lay catechists pay their own wayA lay catechist team in mainland China
- ucanews.com reporter, Xi‚Äôan
- April 29, 2011
In Xi‚Äôan and in neighboring Baoji, Xianyang and Xingping cities, there are some 50 full-time catechists, who go out to visit the poor and sick.
Most of these catechists come from rural areas. Their devout and vigorous Christian life has attracted many non-believers to the Church.
Father John Su Shengyi of Sanyuan diocese often invites lay catechist teams from other dioceses to evangelize in the area he serves. These active catechists evangelize through their writings, sermons and charity work in one village after another.
‚ÄúI admire their dedication, spirit and charitable actions, which have fostered the Church‚Äôs evangelization enormously,‚ÄĚ the priest noted.
However, the catechists mostly work for the Church at their own expense. They save money on food and other expenses to give financial assistance to the needy.
Since they also have to support their own families, their financial plight has gradually become a concern of the Church and Catholics.
Zhang Ruohan, a retired civil servant who serves in the mountainous area near Baoji, uses his pension to back his evangelistic work.
‚ÄúCatechists who have no income may face difficulties serving in remote areas over a long period of time, particularly with the rate of inflation these days,‚ÄĚ he noted.
Wang Enshi, a poor man from Zhouzhi diocese, helps people in his parish to carry water and deliver newspapers. Wang is eager to go out to spread the Gospel and visit the sick, but is deeply concerned that he can hardly afford traveling expenses or to give money to the poor.
‚ÄúThese catechists leave their homes and spare no effort on evangelization. Some of them even travel across the country throughout the year, thus the Church should take care of them,‚ÄĚ Father Wang of Xi‚Äôan diocese said.
Maria Wang, a new Catholic in Xi‚Äôan, knows just how much catechists have contributed in spreading the Gospel. She hopes local Church-run charitable organizations can pay more attention to catechists and give some support to their families so that they can go about their evangelistic work more wholeheartedly.
There are around 10 Catholic charitable organizations in China that focus on social charity and humanistic work, as well as on disaster and emergency relief. Some laypeople hope they can also help support volunteer catechists‚Äô family and evangelization expenses.
China aid workers hone their skills
Chinese wives help the weakest for Lent
Evangelizing through medical service