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
Instability takes a toll on schools
Class closures fuelled by diesel shortagesVehicles queue for diesel in Kathmandu
- Chirendra Satyal, Kathmandu
- December 16, 2011
But the weather wasnât keeping students at home. For months, the country has been gripped by hours-long electrical outages, demonstrations and work stoppages known as bandhs.
As well, a chronic shortage of diesel fuel has emptied roads across the country and kept students at home.
Supplies to the Nepal Oil Company, whose sole provider is the Indian Oil Company, have dwindled in recent months, leaving fuel prices high and supplies low.
Don Bosco School in Lubhu in the eastern suburb of Lubhu closed its doors earlier this week because its buses, servicing the schoolâs 500 students, had no fuel.
But Bishop Anthony Sharma said yesterday that suspension of classes can be unpredictable and caused by political factors as well.
âSchool closures can come without warning in Nepal,â he said, adding that other schools in the capital had also closed because of bandhs.
One such stoppage was called this week by the Limbu hill tribe community, which has demanded autonomy for the Limbuwan state. As a result, Catholic schools in the area were forced to close for three days, affecting thousands of students.
Dr Rabindra Khanal, a university professor and administrator of the Navaprabhat School, said a number of factors contribute to the closures.
âSchools may have to close on the lightest of pretexts, including road accidents. A few days ago, all schools in our area had to be shut for a day after a goldsmith was killed in a nearby shop.â
Khanal, who teaches political science at Tribhuwan University, Nepalâs largest government-run school, said political tensions could cause more disruptions for the nationâs schools.
âThere are bound to be protests in the coming months that will affect students quite badly,â he said.
âI see a difficult time ahead before Nepalâs internal peace process is completed.â
Of particular note, he added, was the decommissioning of Maoist combatants and their integration, along with members of tribal communities and dalits, in the national army.
In the meantime, the continuity of the school year seems to hang in the balance.
âSchools have been declared âzones of peaceâ in parliament, but that has now become a joke on the parliamentarians themselves.â