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
Christian leader arrested for converting 300 people
The stormy relationship between the Laos government and active Christians continues with the arrest of a popular Christian leader.
- August 30, 2012
As reported to Fides, the arrest took place a week ago, after twice before his arrest, in the month of August, the leader had been summoned and questioned by the provincial authorities. The questions focused on his faith and conversion of about 300 Laotians to Christianity, in May.
The 300 faithful, all from the village of Nongpong, after having seen and met the man, freely decided to join. This alarmed local authorities. The warrant provides for the expulsion of Bountheung from the village and orders the 300 Christian residents in Nongpong to renounce their Christian faith in exchange for the right to continue to live in the village.
According to the NGO "Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom", the order violates a right of citizenship, since Bountheung lived and worked in the village, and is properly registered, along with the other 300, as "permanent resident". The NGO also adds, the measure violates the right to join any religion of their choice, guaranteed by the Constitution of Laos.
In another village, Nahoukou, about 40 km from the city of Savannakhet, in the same province, local authorities interrogated and intimidated Tongkoun Keohavong, secular leader of the Christian community of the village, asking him the reasons for the growth of Christianity in the village. Tongkoun explained that, since February 2012, more than 30 villagers, in exercising their right to religious freedom, embraced the Christian faith, becoming part of the community.
The authorities ordered him and the other believers to renounce their faith and stop the meetings of worship, which could lead to the expulsion from the village.
Full Story:Â Christian leader arrested because "he converted 300 people"
See also:Â Laos Frees 4 Lao, Thai Christians Jailed For Bible Study