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
Eviction dispute hero heads to court
Smallholder goes on trial with bishops' backingPeter Doan Van Vuonâ€™s mother (centre) asks the congregation at her church to pray for her children
- ucanews.com reporter, Hanoi
- April 2, 2013
Peter Doan Van Vuon and five of his relatives go to trial today in Hai Phong city, accused of injuring six policemen and soldiers with homemade guns and explosives during an eviction dispute.
In January 2012, Vuo resisted when 100 police officers and soldiers reportedly attempted to forcibly evict him and his family from their farm and home. Vuon and his three brothers aged between 39 and 56 have been detained since the incident. They are charged with attempted murder, while his wife and his sister-in-law face charges of fighting policemen and soldiers.
“They have to be released since they did not commit murder or a crime against policemen and soldiers as charged by the government,” said a petition signed by Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop of Vinh, president of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, and Bishop Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hai Phong. “Their correct self-defense does not violate the law."
In the petition, submitted to the court on Friday, the bishops said Vuon and his relatives used homemade weapons to “protect their own legal interests and properly acted in self-defense against local authorities making unlawful decisions.”
The trial is expected to last until April 5.
Five district officials face charges of destruction of citizens’ property in the case. They allegedly ordered policemen and soldiers to level Vuon’s farm and demolished his two-storey home. That trial will begin April 8.
Last year Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said the authorities broke the law by withdrawing land allocated to Vuon several years ago. The district authorities “were completely wrong about land allocation, the terms of land use, and the eviction of Vuon by force,” Dung said.
Local authorities allocated 40 hectares of land to Vuon to use for a 14-year period, but according to land laws, the period should have been 20 years.
The incident has made Vuon a hero to many. Thousands of people attended a special Mass on Sunday at Thai Ha Church in Hanoi to pray for Vuon and his relatives to be tried fairly. They hung banners saying, "Justice and truth for Doan Van Vuon," and “Private ownership of the land must be respected."