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
Christians begin fast for peace
Taking action to promote safety in troubled Indian regionCrowd gathered to pray and fast on the first day
- Francis Rodrigues, Mangalore
- March 11, 2011
"We offer the 21 days of prayers and fasting for the safety" of Christians in Karnataka, said Bishop Aloysius Paul Dâ€™Souza of Mangalore who opened the marathon prayer program March 10.
He said after the pro-Hindu attacks on churches across Karnataka state in 2008, Christian were "in constant fear" and felt unsafe.
At least 27 Christian sites were damaged across the state in the first few days of violence that began three months after the pro-Hindu Bhratiya Janata Party (BJP, Indian people's party) came to power in 2008.
Father Nelson Pinto, the convener of the prayer program across the diocese, said they have settled on 21 days because of a Biblical reason.
According to Bible, Prophet Daniel had for full "three weeks of mourning" sacrificed pleasant food, meat and wine," said the Carmelite priest.
He said with that background, Catholics across the diocese plan to abstain from having meat and their other favorite food items, and lives mainly on fruits and vegetables.
Catholics from all over the parishes would take turns to join the fast, prayer and adorations conducted in the diocesan headquarters for eight hours every day.
Some 600 people attended the program on the opening day. It will conclude on March 30.
"This is a peopleâ€™s prayer for a cause. We have personally invited many to the marathon prayer sessions," said Melvyn Noronha, an organizer of the program.