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
End religious violence in Nghe An: groups
Vietnamese Catholic groups urge government to end persecution of people of all faiths
- Alessandro Speciale, Vatican City
- Vatican City
- July 12, 2012
The Federation of Vietnamese Catholic Mass Media published an appeal last week to â€śsternly condemn and denounce before the international community the persecutions against our fellow Catholic priests and faithful at Con Cuong missionary post.â€ť
Ucanews.com reported on July 3 that a chapel in Nghe An province has been the target in recent weeks of repeated attacks and intimidation, while the local priest, Father John Baptist Nguyen Dinh Thuc, was barred access to it and beaten by security officials.
The Federation's appeal was signed by Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Nguyen Van Long of Melbourne, Australia, by Monsignor Peter Nguyen Van Tai, director of Radio Veritas Asia, as well as by the director of the US-based VietCatholic News Agency and the editors of the People of God magazines that serve Vietnamese-Catholic communities in the US, Europe and Australia.
The appeal calls on the Vietnamese government to â€śstop immediately its brutal acts of repression against Catholic priests and faithfulâ€ť and to end its â€śrepression against the Catholic Church and other religions in Vietnam.â€ť
It also asked Vietnam to respect its own laws and â€śreturn all properties it has appropriated from the Catholic Church and other religions in Vietnam.â€ť
The appeal has received no official response.
The Bishop of Vinh, Paul Nguyen Thai Hop, who is currently in Europe on a fund-raising tour, wrote a letter to Catholics in his diocese on July 4 to reassure them in the face of â€śa situation that shouldn't exist in the 21st century.â€ť
After visiting Rome and Paris, Bishop Thai Hop, who is also head of Vietnam's bishops conferenceâ€™s Justice and Peace Commission, will be this weekend in Stuttgart, Germany, to visit the local Vietnamese community.
According to an interview given by the bishop to Eglises d'Asie, a news agency of the Paris Foreign Missions Society, a revival of religious feeling is currently in progress in Vinh diocese. As is often the case in rural areas, local authorities in the district of Con Cuong do not take kindly to this awakening and try to discourage it in every way, he said.
This is particularly a consequence of the â€śheroicâ€ť status of Nghe An province as the home of national hero Ho Chi Minh, which means that it is a hotspot of Communist activity. In order to preserve this status, local officials have had to discourage religious activity in the district, according to the bishop.
Security officials 'beat parishioners'